NCG’s Matt Chivers considers two specific paths professional golf could take following Jon Rahm’s move to LIV Golf…
Where to begin?
Jon Rahm’s appearance on Fox News on December 7 echoed June 6 when Jay Monahan sat beside Yasir Al-Rumayyan on CNBC.
We couldn’t have imagined either image as they felt so surreal, but there was nothing fake about them.
The shockwaves were slightly dulled after weeks of speculation, but to see a player who was so adamantly opposed to joining LIV Golf wearing a LIV Golf jacket live on television was staggering.
So staggering that, to me, this must mean more. Rahms reported £450-million move could be a sign of one of two paths.
NCG understands the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund are still in ongoing talks to reach a definitive agreement.
If a deal is completed, before or beyond the December 31 deadline, this could result in an amicable relationship between parties who were previously divided.
No one knows what the golf calendar would look like after a proposed deal, but a type of team golf schedule was touted in the initial announcement in the summer.
Rahm’s transfer could be a sign that a compromise is on the cards and that the Spaniard feels assured he’ll meet the likes of McIlroy, Scheffler and Hovland on the same fairways again soon.
But could it also mean the opposite?
The PGA Tour are in talks with private equity candidates, as well as the PIF, in order to cope with professional golf’s prize money climate.
If an alliance is not likely to transpire, then LIV Golf has landed an almighty blow to the PGA Tour by pinching one of its biggest stars who is the Masters champion and the current World No. 3.
It is arguably LIV’s biggest message of intent since its inception in June 2022, and more big-name acquisitions could follow.
Rahm’s move was a shock based on what he’s previously said about LIV Golf’s format, his vocal commitment to the PGA Tour and, particularly, his disregard for prize money.
“Money is great, but when Kelley and I – this first thing happened, we started talking about it, and we’re like, will our lifestyle change if I got $400 million? No, it will not change one bit,” he said at the 2022 US Open.
“The money is great. It’s wonderful, but what I’ve said before is true,” he said after joining LIV.
“I do not play golf for the money. I play golf for the love of the game and for the love of golf, but as a husband and as a father and a family man, I have a duty to my family to give them the best opportunities and the most amount of resources possible.
“Obviously, it is a factor and it was an important one in this decision, but there are many other things as I mentioned earlier that make it so exciting.”
Such a big U-turn must represent something even bigger.
It might not matter who plays where soon if the powers that be can strike a deal.
But if they can’t, who is to say the LIV Golf floodgates can’t burst open?
‘Is Jon Rahm LIV Golf?’ has finally been answered! Which other players will move too? Tell us on Twitter/X?
(Image credit: LIV Golf media)