The rumor had been circulating for several days, and so it was true! World No. 3 Jon Rahm, one of the biggest stars in world golf, has announced that he is joining the Saudi LIV Tour, after being highly critical of the PGA Tour competitor last year. What makes golf fans jump out of their chairs even more is perhaps the amount of the contract: between $450 million and $600 million (€420 million and €550 million) according to the American media.
"As you can see, now it's official, I'm saying it after all these rumors... I'm joining LIV Golf," Rahm told Fox News after several days of persistent rumors. However, the Spaniard refused to confirm the figures put forward by this agreement: "It's private, and it will remain so!"
"Money is still a factor"
The decision by Rahm, who won the Masters in April, comes as the golfer has been among the most vocal critics of the LIV Tour format and the amounts involved in convincing players. Tiger Woods is said to have turned down nearly €800 million to continue his career on the tour.
"Money is important, but when my wife and I talked about it, we wondered if our lives would change with $400 million. Well, no. It wouldn't change anything. I've never played golf for the money. I play for the love of the game," he said last year.
"That's still true. Money is great. But I still don't play golf for that. On the other hand, as a husband and father, I have to give them the best opportunities possible. So yes, money is still a factor," the 2023 Augusta Masters winner acknowledged.
🚨 #WATCH Jon Rahm's full interview with @BretBaier
— NUCLR GOLF (@NUCLRGOLF) December 8, 2023
The 1-year-old Spaniard, a two-time winner of major tournaments, joins Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau who had already given in to the Saudi sirens before him. "I've had a great career on the PGA Tour but LIV still has a lot to offer, including the concept of playing as a team," the last Ryder Cup winner with Team Europe tried to justify himself.
This announcement also comes at a time when global golf is in the midst of a reconfiguration. Long a dissident from the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, the American and European circuits, LIV had announced shock negotiations for a potential merger between these entities. The deadline of 31 December has been set to reach an agreement. A deal that Jon Rahm is surely counting on, as he has said he wants to "maintain his status on the PGA Tour".