In the world of golf, money is king.
That is perhaps why Jon Rahm, the third-highest-ranked golfer on the PGA Tour, has finally relented and agreed to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour in a package reportedly worth over half a billion dollars, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“As you can see now it’s official,” the 29-year-old Spaniard told Fox News.
“This is me finally saying after all the rumors, some of them were true, and I am officially joining LIV Golf,” he continued. “It’s not an easy decision. I’ve had a very successful career and I’m happy.
“There are a lot of things that LIV Golf have to offer which were very enticing, starting with team golf.”
Telegraph and the WSJ are both reporting that Jon Rahm will be joining LIV Golf as early as this week.
The reigning masters champion would get over $500 million — more than the entire 2023 PGA Tour prize pool.
That’s a huge blow to the PGA Tour, especially with their December… pic.twitter.com/DWVG3gLD42
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) December 7, 2023
Rahm has refused to comment on the precise sum he will be paid, but insisted he does “not play golf for the money.”
“I play golf for the love of the game and for the love of golf,” he said. “I’m an ambitious person but I’m not a greedy one.”
“But as a husband, as a father and as a family man I have a duty to them to give them the most amount of opportunities and the most amount of resources possible.”
“I have officially joined LIV”
Number 3 ranked golfer in the world Jon Rahm gives a thoughtful and poised 8+ minute interview on the Special Report with Bret Baier to announce his decision to join LIV.
Here is the full clip, enjoy. pic.twitter.com/DB79Jw3TSj
— LIV Golf Nation (@LIVGolfNation) December 7, 2023
“Obviously, [money] is a factor and it’s an important one in this decision. The love of the game and wanting to grow it in a global market. Being part of the team. Being a captain. Hopefully being a leader to team-mates. It makes me want to work harder than I have done now to actually prove myself.”
“Hopefully some time in the future some kids in Spain will want to be part of this team that I am going to build. Hopefully it’s something that I am related to for a very long time. Hopefully until the day I die. And I can make it something very special.”
Rahm, who had previously said he would not be joining LIV, follows other golfing stars including Brooks Koepka, Cam Smith and six-time major winner Phil Mickelson in joining LIV, raising serious questions about the future of the sport and who will be the next famous name to join.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) December 7, 2023
Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion dollar venture into the world of professional golf has long had a political dimension due to the country’s political human rights record.
However, the game has also been a source of political friction in the U.S. due to Donald Trump’s love of the game and backing for LIV, which hosted one of its events at his course in Miami.
Last year, the former president correctly predicted that LIV and the PGA would eventually merge and urged golfers to cash in with the Saudi-backed tour.
“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year,” Trump wrote on Truth Social back in July 2022.
“If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were,” he added.
It’s unclear how any of this potential movement could affect the LIV Golf and PGA Tour merger that was agreed upon in June, according to the New York Post.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — the official arm of the government that fiscally supports LIV — and the PGA Tour have set a Dec. 31 deadline to finalize the framework of the blockbuster merger.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.