Masters victory was decisive in switching to LIV, says John Rahm
Spaniard had stunned the golfing world by joining the Saudi Arabia-backed tour
London — Spaniard John Rahm says winning last year’s US Masters was a decisive factor in his decision to switch to LIV Golf, a move that stunned the sport.
Rahm announced he was joining the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway LIV Golf in December and made his debut at the event in Mexico last weekend.
The 29-year-old had initially played down his chances of switching to LIV Golf, saying the huge financial incentives up for grabs didn’t really interest him. He now concedes the money on offer was hard to turn down, while being guaranteed to be able to play in the Masters helped make up his mind.
“Winning the Masters was a huge step towards maybe saying about it,” Rahm told Golf.com’s Breakthrough.
“Being exempt from Majors, knowing that most likely you can play the Masters for life and the US Open until 2031, you know, I’m set with two of those right so it was it was a big determining factor.”
Rahm’s deal with LIV Golf is worth a reported £450m and while he says he meant what he said in 2022 that he was already wealthy enough to enjoy a great lifestyle, the amounts on offer eventually were too tempting.
“When I said that I fully meant it and it was true. Now, when they slap you with a large amount of money in your face, your feelings do change,” Rahm said.
“I try not to be a materialistic person, but I do owe it to my family as well to set them up for success the best I can, and having kids I think changed that quite a bit. So the money is a part of it; I’m not going to lie.”
Talks about a potential merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have been continuing since a framework agreement in June, though a December 31 date to approve the deal was missed.
Rahm said he hopes his decision to play LIV Golf might even help the two parties come together for the good of the sport.
“I truly hope that things can come together,” he said. “I’m just hoping we get to a point where it’s coherent and there is coexistence.
“I hope that me coming is at least tipping the scales a little for the world of golf to come together because I do see a situation where we can end up with a great product for the crowds and to have golf as a better entertainment business than it was before.”
Rahm plays in the second LIV Golf event at the Las Vegas Country Club this week but concedes it’s a wrench not being able to play his favourite tournaments on the PGA Tour.
“I’m hoping that in the near future I can be back playing some of those events,” he said. “If there’s ever a way back and a way where we can play, even if it’s as an invite, I will take it. There’s certain events that are special to me that I would still love to support.”
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