The Spaniard has criticised his circuit for failing to stage more global events as they continue to fight off LIV Golf
Jon Rahm has been the man in form on and off the course of late, claiming three victories in five starts while having his say on just about everything in the sport from LIV Golf, to world rankings, to Ryder Cup controversies.
But now, as Rahm continues to take a lead in the PGA Tour’s fight against its controversial rival, the Spaniard has turned his attention to the shortcomings of the former, scrutinising the American league over what he feels is a “missed opportunity”.
Speaking on the No Laying Up podcast, Rahm criticised the PGA Tour for failing to stage more events outside of Europe and North America despite its affiliation with the World Golf Championships (WGC).
“We’ve heard since the whole LIV thing came out, we’ve heard a lot of people from both sides say, ‘growing the game of golf, we’re here to grow the game of golf'”, Rahm said. “And I think since the WGC has happened, it’s a missed opportunity.
“You’re calling something the World Golf Championship, but three of them happen to be in the United States? I understand it’s the biggest market, but I think you miss an opportunity.”
Of the four WGC events Rahm is talking about – the Championship, Invitational, Champions, and Match Play – only the latter features on the PGA Tour schedule for 2023, with the first two now defunct, and the Champions, usually played in China, still on a hiatus due to the pandemic.
And with the WGC-Match Play always staged in the US, the PGA Tour will only offer global trips to Japan and Mexico in 2023 – on top of the co-sanctioned British events – an issue Rahm believes fails to “make golf bigger”.
The World No 4 continued: “Why don’t we go to South America more? Why don’t we go to Africa at all? Why don’t we go to Asia more? Middle East? They are golf hungry out there, and they should have the opportunity to be able to see the this, especially if you want to make golf bigger.
“Take Formula 1 and tennis, they go all over the freaking place. Right? So, I think we have an opportunity to make that happen.”
As for the PGA Tour’s bitter rival, LIV Golf, the breakaway league will feature stops to Mexico, Australia, Singapore, Spain, England, Thailand and Saudi Arabia this year, mirroring the DP World Tour’s approach to offering a globally staged product.
“Now, LIV did it, so that might not be something the PGA Tour wants to pursue as much,” Rahm continued. “But I think it’s an opportunity there to take the PGA Tour and the game of golf to different places that you may not see on a regular basis. It’s an opportunity, that’s all I can say.
“If you make it one of those big [elevated] events, where you’re guaranteed to have 17 of the top 20 players in the world, you will have people that show up. If you go to Singapore, you will have a crowd. TV ratings might change obviously because it’s different timing. But go to South Africa, go anywhere, one of those venues in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, they’ll turn up. They’ll be there for sure.
“If you can guarantee the biggest players in the world, which up until now has been a sketchy thing to do, I think it’s an opportunity.”
What do you think? Is Jon Rahm right? Does the PGA Tour need to start staging more events around the world to help grow the game of golf? Or is it now impossible given the circuit’s already stacked schedule? Let us know on Twitter.
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