Rahm joins LIV, says decision essentially made ‘today’

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Jon Rahm’s much-anticipated jump to LIV Golf came “quicker” than the Spaniard expected, and he said Thursday that the decision was “best for me and my family.”

Rahm spoke to a select group of reporters via conference call from New York City on Thursday, about an hour before LIV Golf officially announced the reigning Masters champion as the league’s newest star.

Although he declined to give specifics on his deal with the league, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, he said money was “one of the reasons” he joined and explained that his decision to leave the Tour was essentially made “today.” Reports have estimated the deal more than $300 million.

“I’m very comfortable with my decision,” Rahm said. “I’m no stranger to hearing some negative things on social media or in media. It’s part of what it is, we’re public figures but you just learn to deal with it right? This certainly won’t define who I am or change who I am.”

The world’s third-ranked player also confirmed that he will be a captain of a new team, bringing the league’s total to 13 teams and 52 players. He wouldn’t comment on who will be on his team. “You’ll have to wait and see,” he said. Rahm will compete in the first event of the 2024 season, Feb. 2-4, at LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico.

Rahm said the Ryder Cup, which is not open to players who joined LIV under current DP World Tour regulations, was the biggest hurdle he weighed before joining the rival league. He also said he hasn’t had a chance to speak with Luke Donald, this year’s and the 2025 European Ryder Cup captain, about his decision.

Rahm went 2-0-2 for Europe earlier this year in Rome and although he’d declared his “fealty” to the Tour in early 2022, he lobbied for LIV players, most notably Sergio Garcia, to be included in this year’s matches.

Rahm also said he hadn’t spoken to Phil Mickelson about his decision. Mickelson was among the first to join LIV and both players are represented by the same management firm.

Speculation that Rahm was poised to join LIV Golf had built in recent days, leading many to see the move as a leverage play by PIF in its ongoing negotiations with the Tour. Signing a high-profile player like Rahm, as well as the possibility of three other players for his team, would send a clear message to the Tour that PIF and LIV Golf were not going away.

“LIV Golf is here to stay,” LIV Golf’s COO Lawrence Burian said in a statement. “The addition of Jon reemphasizes that our league is not slowing down. We are continuing to invest and build aggressively for LIV’s long-term and exciting future.”

Rahm said his decision to join LIV was “separate from those negotiations” and his job was “to play golf.”

“I just hope whatever is happening behind those closed doors [the Tour and PIF negotiations] is best for all of us,” Rahm said.

On Monday, the Tour announced Rahm as one of five candidates for this year’s Player of the Year Award. He had four victories this season, including the Masters. The four other candidates are Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy.

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