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Jon Rahm takes issue with LIV format: ‘I wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes’

It is a drum that Jon Rahm has banged since joining LIV Golf. The Spaniard seems to prefer the classic 72-hole format as opposed to the Saudi league’s 54-hole structure…

 

Jon Rahm has re-asserted his desire for LIV Golf to become a 72-hole format.

The Spaniard and reigning Masters champion told BBC Sport’s Iain Carter that he would support a change to the Saudi-funded league’s structure which currently features 54 holes, inspiring the name of the circuit itself (LIV being the Roman numeral for 54).

Before joining the LIV League in December, Rahm had previously expressed his dislike of the three-round structure and the use of the shotgun start, elements that make the rebel league distinctly different to the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour where Rahm used to play his golf.

When he was announced as a LIV player after signing a reported £450-million contract, Rahm contemplated speaking to the LIV powers that be about the format in his role as a team captain, and he has continued to bang this drum ahead of the Masters where he is looking to defend his crown from 2023.

“If there ever was a way where LIV could go to 72 holes I think it would help all of this argument a lot,” he said.

“The closer I think we can get LIV Golf to some other things the better. I think it would be for some kind of unification to feed into a world tour or something like that.

“I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes.

“I see everybody’s scepticism,” he added. “I get it. I’ve been there, I voiced it to more people than most people would probably speak to.

“It was one of the things that was holding me back from possibly joining LIV Golf. But now, having been here, once you start the tournament I really sometimes have forgotten that I’ve only played 54 holes.”

Rahm, the captain of Legion XIII GC, represented by Tyrrell Hatton, Caleb Surratt and Kieran Vincent, led his team to victory at last week’s LIV Golf Miami event at Trump National Doral. He is now set on becoming the first player to defend his Green Jacket since Tiger Woods in 2002 successfully.

jon rahm liv golf format

Jon Rahm: LIV move came after the PGA Tour and PIF announced their deal

Two months after Rahm won his second major title at Augusta National, the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund that bankrolls LIV Golf, announced a framework agreement to “unify the game of golf.”

The LIV Golf League had become the enemy and competitor of the PGA Tour since its inaugural event at Centurion Golf Club near London in June, 2022. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had rallied the troops against the breakaway circuit and devised several raised-purse events in the 2023 and 2024 PGA Tour schedules to prevent more stars from joining LIV.

But because the PGA Tour membership was kept in the dark about the tour’s negotiations with the PIF, a sense of betrayal emerged and Monahan came underfire to an extent that caused him to temporarily leave his role to focus on his health.

Rahm told the BBC that “he wasn’t happy” about the announcement, however, following his success on the PGA Tour and becoming a multi-major winning star, he now realises that his move to LIV Golf could be seen as a “tipping point” and he admits a lot changed after the PGA Tour allied with LIV Golf’s chief investors which impacted his decision to join the new league.

“That’s a well-thought-out argument,” Rahm said. “I could be the start of a tipping point in that sense.

“I understood the weight that (my) decision could have and the impact it could have. I understood that perfectly and that’s why it wasn’t an easy decision.

“The balance of golf could be disturbed a little bit. Luckily in my career, especially last year, I accomplished a lot and I got to be one of the bigger names in golf.

“There are few active players that could have had a bigger impact than myself in that sense. Not to be patting myself on the back too much, but I understood the position I was in.

“At the US Open trying to deal with something like that wasn’t perfect timing,” he added.

“What we need to reflect on is the second that framework agreement was worked on, everything changed.

“And that’s where the beginning of all this change happened. If it wasn’t me (making the move) it would have been someone else at some point.

“If the PGA Tour is now open to working with the PIF or LIV or maybe coming together in some kind of way then that opened the door for me to do the same thing.”

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(Image credit: LIV Golf Media)

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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