Jon Rahm being officially unveiled as a LIV Golf player with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman
JON RAHM JOINS LIV GOLF IN $450m DEAL
Weeks of speculation about whether Jon Rahm would or wouldn’t be joining LIV Golf finally ended on Thursday night when the world no.3 was officially announced as having signed up to the Saudi-backed league for a reported fee of $450 million.
Speaking about his decision, two-time major champion said: “I am proud to join LIV Golf and be part of something new that is bringing growth to the sport,” I have no doubt that this is a great opportunity for me and my family and am very excited for the future.”
GREG NORMAN ON RAHM DEAL
Commenting on his new signing, 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. 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.”
Details about which of LIV Golf’s 12 teams Rahm will be joining next year have not been announced, but he will be teeing it up in the first event of the 2024 LIV Golf season in Mexico in February.
RAHM’S MEGA SIGNING ON FEE
The reported $600m signing-on figure dwarfs the money that has been paid to any other previous LIV player, showing just how important it was for LIV Golf to attract another world class player, having failed to unveil a significant new signing since 2022 Open champion Cameron Smith joined the breakaway league in August last year.
Rahm, the reigning Masters champion and winner of 20 tournaments around the world, had previously gone on record about his loyalty to the PGA Tour, but that was long before PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan betrayed the trust of many PGA Tour members by going behind their backs to negotiate a deal with the Saudi PIF to become one of the main sponsors of the US-based circuit.
CAN RAHM PLAY ON THE PGA TOUR?
With that deal between the PGA Tour and Saudi PIF still being thrashed out, it opened the door for Rahm to join LIV Golf knowing that he still potentially had a route back to the PGA Tour if a merger was done. And, if not, with his lifetime exemption to the Masters, five-year exemption to The Open, and four-year exemptions to the US Open and the PGA Championship, the 29-year-old Spaniard also knows that he will still have plenty of opportunities to play in the Major championships during what are regarded as the prime years of a golfer’s career.
Losing Rahm will be a bitter blow to the PGA Tour, as the ebullient Spaniard has proved hugely popular with fans across the world thanks to his swashbuckling style of play and heart-on-sleeve personality. His big money move may also open the floodgates for other high-ranking PGA Tour players to jump ship and may yet ultimately lead to the very foundations of the PGA Tour being rocked.