'LIV Golf is here to stay' is message as Jon Rahm joins breakaway circuit

Two-time major winner Jon Rahm shakes on his big-money deal with LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman. Picture: LIV GolfTwo-time major winner Jon Rahm shakes on his big-money deal with LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman. Picture: LIV Golf
Two-time major winner Jon Rahm shakes on his big-money deal with LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman. Picture: LIV Golf
Hailing the announcement of Jon Rahm joining, ‘Liv Golf is here to stay’ was the message from the breakaway circuit’s chief operating officer as the Spaniard admitted he’d put money ahead of his Ryder Cup career.

After it had been widely rumoured for the past week, Rahm’s decision to sign for LIV Golf was confirmed on Thursday evening after he’d flown to New York for final talks with the circuit’s officials.

“I am proud to join LIV Golf and be part of something new that is bringing growth to the sport,” said the Masters champion, who is believed to have secured a deal worth up to $450 million, which includes 25 per cent equity in a LIV team that has yet to be disclosed.

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“I have no doubt that this is a great opportunity for me and my family and am very excited for the future.”

Speaking to reporters, he added: "The past two years there has been a lot of evolving in the game of golf. Things have changed a lot and so have I and I’ve seen the growth of LIV Golf and the innovation. That’s why we’re here.

“Certain things are not going to be public, but this decision was made for many reasons, “What I thought was best for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great deal. It was a great offer in front of me and it’s one of the reasons I took it. They put me in a position to think about it and that’s what I did."

Rahm has made no secret of not being a fan of LIV Golf’s 54-hole format but said of it: "I think the growth that I’ve seen and how it’s become a big business and how it can impact golf in a positive way is very enticing.

“With everything, not all is perfect. With that said, it’s an ever-growing and ever-changing machine. I’m hopeful that the leaders of LIV Golf might listen to some of my advice and see some changes for the future and for the betterment of the game."

Rahm, who has played on the last three European teams, admitted the biggest hurdle for him was the Ryder Cup but added: "What they had to offer was maybe worth the risk of not being able to play the Ryder Cup." he said.

Rahm will make his LIV Golf debut when the 2024 season starts with LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico on 2-4 February.

LIV Golf Commissioner and CEO Greg Norman said: “When I first met Jon at the age of 17, I knew then that the golfing world was about to witness the birth of a new star. Jon has consistently validated that he is one of the top players in the world.

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“He’s a generational talent who has proven his merit as a multiple major champion and tremendous ambassador for global golf by placing the game ahead of himself.

“There are very few athletes with his pedigree of talent, leadership, poise, and commitment to bringing progress to the sport on a worldwide stage. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Jon to the LIV Golf family as the league continues preparations for a huge 2024 and beyond.”

Lawrence Burian, LIV Golf Chief Operating Officer, added: "LIV Golf is here to stay. The addition of Jon reemphasizes that our League is not slowing down. We are continuing to invest and build aggressively for LIV's long-term and exciting future."

Two of Rahm’s Ryder Cup team-mates in Rome in September, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, offered their reaction to LIV’s biggest signing since 2022 Open champion Cameron Smith switched to the circuit.

“I am going to miss competing against him week-in-week-out,” McIlroy told Sky Sports News. “He is such a good player, he has so much talent. He is so tenacious, and a great teammate at the Ryder Cup. I have nothing but good things to say about Jon. I respect the hell out of him as a golfer.”

Speaking to Sports Illustrated at the Grant Thornton Invitational in Florida, Rose said: “This is a huge part of the jigsaw puzzle that you’ve seen Jon go. And then I don’t know who else goes with Jon. I mean, obviously if it’s just Jon, that’s bad enough. What does that mean now to the trickle if it’s Jon plus a trickle?”

Paul McGinley, a winning Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014, described Rahm’s switch as a “huge blow” for both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, having played on both circuits since he turned professional,

"It's a massive blow. It's a huge blow," McGinley told Sky Sports News. "This is a seismic shift in terms of power within the game of golf towards the Saudi league and away from the tours. Away from the DP World Tour as well as the PGA Tour.

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"LIV will be very giddy this morning and chomping at the bit that they've smashed up what we have known to be professional golf in the last 40 or 50 years."

The Irishman added: "I don't know who to trust or what to say anymore because so many people have completely reversed their positions on what they said. Jon Rahm came out very strongly in support of the tours and came out very, very strongly that this was not a good format [in LIV], that he didn't enjoy it, that he didn't see any future in it, that he was chasing his own career and titles on the PGA Tour, titles on the DP World Tour and obviously Ryder Cup and he knows that by going here it's going to put a lot of that in jeopardy. Whether it does or not we'll have to wait and see but it's a complete reversal of the position he's stood very strongly on."

Two LIV Golf players welcomed Rahm joining the circuit, which starts its 2024 schedule in Mexico in early Feburary. Five-time major winner Brooks Koepka, who was in the final group with Rahm at The Masters in April, said he was “ready for more Sunday battles” with the Spaniard while Bryson DeChambeau said he was “excited to compete with you once again my man and continue to play with the best players in the world”.



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