The PGA Tour takes a huge hit when Jon Rahm leaves for LIV Golf.
The PGA Tour takes a huge hit when Jon Rahm leaves for LIV Golf.

Jon Rahm quits the PGA Tour Masters to play for Saudi-funded LIV Golf on Thursday for what is thought to be more money than the PGA Tour’s whole prize fund. This is a shocking move that widens the gap between the two groups in golf, who were in talks about a business deal.

Rahm said the move was real in an interview with Fox News. He wore a black letterman’s jacket with the LIV logo and said it wasn’t easy to decide.

Rahm said, “I’ve been very happy.” “But LIV Golf has a lot of things that were very appealing.”
Reports said that his pay would be around $500 million, which would probably include stock in his new team. He said that he would not say how much the deal was worth. About $460 million was paid out on the PGA Tour in 2023.

As of today, 25 days have passed since the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund were supposed to finalise their deal to work together in a for-profit business, along with the European tour.

Things are moving slowly, and Tiger Woods said last week that there were a lot of moving parts. Rahm, the No. 3 player in the world and a two-time major winner who just left, was the most important player to change sides. He is 29 years old and is getting close to his prime.

Rahm was sure that he has plenty of money and only cares about his ties to the past. Not long ago, he said that seeing his name linked to LIV made him “laugh.”

“That was a great deal. “The money is great, it’s quite clear,” Rahm said. “But what I said before is still true: I don’t play golf for money.” I play golf because I enjoy it. Though, as a husband, a father, and a family man, it is my duty to give my family the best chances and the most resources I can. That’s where that comes in.

He can still play in the majors for another five years. The Masters is open to him forever, and the U.S. Open is open until 2031. It’s still not clear how the move will affect his ability to play in the Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy told Sky Sports, “It’s hard to sit here and criticise Jon because he’s such a great player.” “Jon will be at Bethpage in 2025 for the Ryder Cup.” The European tour will have to change the rules because of this choice. That’s a given.

With Rahm’s arrival, LIV Golf now has seven of the last 14 major winners.
“LIV Golf is here to stay,” said Lawrence Burian, COO of LIV Golf, in a news release sent out after Rahm’s Fox News interview.

It was planned for this week for PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to meet with PIF head Yasir Al-Rumayyan. The meeting was pushed back to next week, but it wasn’t clear if it was still going to happen or how Rahm’s news would effect the talks.

Since June 6, when the amazing business relationship was first suggested, the tour has also been considering offers from private equity groups. Some of these are Fenway Sports Group and Acorn Growth, whose members include Randall Stephenson, who used to be Chairman of AT&T. The deal between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia made him angry, so he quit the board.

At first, the agreement had text to stop teams from poaching players, but the Justice Department took that out because it was thought to be antitrust.

Everything Rahm has said about the league goes against what he did when he signed with LIV. He has said that he will play on the PGA Tour until February 2022, and in August he told a Spanish show, “I laugh when people say I’m with LIV Golf.” The structure has never been good to me.
At the start, he said, “54 holes with no cut is not a golf tournament.”

At the U.S. Open last year, he said, “I want to play against the best in the world in a way that has been done for hundreds of years.” “I’d like to see that.”

In the Fox interview, he sang a different tune. He said that money was important, but there were other things “that make it so exciting.”

Rahm said, “Once you get past that, the love of the game, wanting to take it to a global level, and being a part of a team, being a captain, and hopefully being a leader to your teammates is something that is so, so special.”

Rahm said he was excited to talk to LIV leaders about possible changes he wants to see, even if he has to wait.

The man said, “My goal is to grow the game of golf and make it better in any way I can.” “I want things badly, but I’m not greedy.” I understand that I can’t have everything, so I’ll have to give up some things. For now, that one seems like something I can handle.

In a statement, the PGA Tour said that “unifying the game for our fans and our players” is still its main goal.

“We can’t speak for any individual players’ decisions, but based on the PGA Tour’s success this past season and the increased interest from and talks with a number of outside investors, we are in a position to make our players equity owners. This will allow the tour to invest in our members, our fans, and continue to lead men’s professional golf forward,” the statement said.

Most of the time, players are banned when they play. The next LIV season starts on February 2. However, promoting a rival league in public can get you suspended right away, unless Rahm quits the PGA Tour.

He would only be able to play in four majors a year, not enough to compete with McIlroy, Scheffler, and the other top 10 golfers in the world.

“No one is making us do this.” Rahm said, “This is our choice.” “I don’t think people would make this jump if the product wasn’t good.” If I could choose again, I would not do it because the PGA Tour has been a great stage for me and I will always be grateful for that. I still want to be a part of that stage if I’m lucky and things go well in the future.

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