The speculation is over, and the news is official: Jon Rahm has left the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf.
The world No. 3 is a massive loss for the PGA Tour and an equally important acquisition for LIV Golf, and the root of his move will branch out with many a discussion to follow: What does this mean for the Tour? How much will this grow LIV? What impact will it have on the framework agreement between the Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund?
But how about what this all means for Rahm himself? The 29-year-old Spaniard is a two-time major champion who still has a deep respect and appreciation for both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, where he has 11 and 10 wins, respectively. His passion for the Ryder Cup burns as hot as his fiery personality. In fact, Rahm even said the biennial bash against the Americans was the biggest hurdle in his way on the path to LIV. While speaking with reporters Thursday evening, Rahm gave a look into the future and discussed playing on both tours, as well as in the Ryder Cup.
“My position with the Ryder Cup stands as it’s always been. I love the Ryder Cup. I’ve explained many times how meaningful it is to me, and I surely hope I can be in future editions of the Ryder Cup,” he said. “That’s not up to me right now, but if it was up to me, I’ll be eligible to play so I surely hope I can keep up the good golf, keep playing good golf and give them a reason to have me on the team.”
“I can say that I do want to maintain my PGA Tour and DP World status. I will not give that up, and hopefully with the freedom that LIV Golf gives me I can play in both of those tours as well,” Rahm added. “I’ve expressed how important the Spanish Open is to me in the past, and if we ever reach that point there are certain PGA Tour events I still want to go and play as long as my schedule allows. So if possible, we’ll see what we can make happen.”
But how soon could we see Rahm back on Tour? LIV Golf’s 2024 season opener at Mayakoba in Mexico is Feb. 2-4. Rahm is a past winner of three PGA Tour events – The Sentry, American Express and Farmers Insurance Open – that will all be held before LIV Golf Mayakoba. If the framework agreement goes through by the Dec. 31 deadline, that may open the door for Rahm to play (though he wasn’t on the early commit list for the AmEx, where he’s the defending champion).
Rahm said he’ll miss the signature events he has won, like the Memorial and Genesis Invitational, “but what’s even better than that is hopefully being a pioneer and being the ones that create the legacy that other people speak of in the future,” he explained. “That’s something that, again, as ambitious as it may be, we have the opportunity to do right now, and that’s something really exciting.”
Legacy was a key talking point for Rahm as he explained his decision Thursday, and his move to LIV is a pretty big gamble (even with a reported 600 million “chips” now in his possession). Being a team owner and captain – details still to come on that front – was enticing for Rahm. He thinks LIV is his chance to make his mark on the game.
“My position is to play golf. That’s what I strive to do, play golf to the best of my abilities and hopefully leave the game in a better position than I found them when I started playing golf, which I’ve said has been my goal for quite a while now,” Rahm said. “I always idolize (Seve Ballesteros) and how much he grew the game of golf in Spain, and indirectly worldwide, so hopefully I can do half as much as what he did, and that’ll be a success.”
“If I can do my part and leave golf in Spain and many other parts of the world in a better state and more improved, it would be a great accomplishment for me, even if it’s just 50 percent of what Seve did, which is already very ambitious because he was a very unique, polarizing man,” he added. “I think that would be a very successful achievement, and that’s my goal, so hopefully we can keep working towards that.”
Is he ambitious or naïve? Only time will tell.