Confirmed: Jon Rahm Joins LIV Golf League

In recent weeks it's become golf's worst-kept secret; Masters champion Jon Rahm has joined the LIV Golf League. For what has been reported as a deal worth as much as $500m the Spaniard will now be the biggest name on the Saudi-backed circuit.

It is thought that LIV will add a 13th team to their roster which Rahm will captain, take an ownership stake and be a force in recruiting more players from his former employer.

It also means that LIV now have two of the four current Major champions with Rahm and Brooks Koepka, and three of the last five with Cam Smith. For the past 18 months Rahm has openly talked about legacy and not playing for money but it seems that everybody has a price as the two-time Major winner becomes LIV's biggest commodity.

“Every decision I feel like we make in life there will be somebody who agrees and likes it and somebody who doesn’t, right," Rahm said. "I made this decision because I believe it’s the best for me and my family and everybody I’ve been able to talk to has been really supportive of me.

“So I’m very comfortable with my decision. 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. I am proud to join LIV Golf and be part of something new that is bringing growth to the sport. I have no doubt that this is a great opportunity for me and my family and am very excited for the future.”

Rahm has spent seven years on the PGA Tour, with a total of 11 wins, and he will now be initially suspended there for the time being. There is a December 31 deadline for the proposed merger with the PGA and DP World Tours and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund but that doesn't look likely to be met.

Whatever talks are taking place will now have changed immeasurably with Rahm in the LIV camp and it seems that the move, despite the recent rumours, was a relatively new thing. A few weeks ago when Rahm pulled out of the TGL even Rory McIlroy didn't think the withdrawal was linked to any possible LIV switch.

"I spoke to Jon a couple days ago and would be very very surprised if that were to happen. I'm pretty confident Jon is a PGA Tour player," McIlroy said.

Rahm also confirmed that he hadn't been able to discuss his move with any of the current LIV stars, most notably two of his biggest allies Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia. Asked if Mickelson had been involved, Rahm replied: “None. No role at all. All those players on LIV are finding out shortly after we’re doing this Q&A. No role at all.

"He’s somebody I lean on to for advice as I’ve always done but not somebody I’ve talked to. I know he wishes I could’ve talked to him but it’s not something I could’ve done."

As for his former Ryder Cup partner, Sergio Garcia, he added: "We couldn’t risk information coming out even though somehow it always does. It’s been certain texts I’ve had to diffuse and certain topics. He did reach out and he did talk to me a little bit. We’ve stayed in contact ever since he went so it’s not out of the ordinary.”

As for the Majors Rahm has a lifetime exemption at Augusta, as well as the US Open until 2031 while he is qualified for the PGA and Open until 2028 courtesy of his Masters victory this year.

His new boss, Greg Norman, added: “When I first met Jon at the age of 17, I knew then that the golfing world was about to witness the birth of a new star. Jon has consistently validated that he is one of the top players in the world. He’s a generational talent who has proven his merit as a multiple Major champion and tremendous ambassador for global golf by placing the game ahead of himself.

“There are very few athletes with his pedigree of talent, leadership, poise, and commitment to bringing progress to the sport on a worldwide stage. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Jon to the LIV Golf family as the league continues preparations for a huge 2024 and beyond.”