Major Coup for LIV Golf as Jon Rahm Joins Trailblazing League

9 Dec

Jon Rahm has become LIV Golf’s biggest star signing since the renegade league upended the traditional golfing world in 2022. No amount has been revealed officially, but industry sources have put his multi-annual fee at between US$400 million and $600 million. 

Whatever the actual figure, it is reportedly a record for the league, dwarfing the amounts paid to previously enlisted Grand Slam champions Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau and Australia’s Cameron Smith.

LIV Golf said the two-time major winner (reigning U.S. Masters and 2021 US. Open champion) will compete in the LIV Golf League beginning next season, which starts in February in Mexico.

In an official statement, Rahm said, “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.”  

Welcoming Rahm to the league, which held its first European continental event at Valderrama in July, LIV Golf commissioner and CEO Greg Norman said, “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.”

Added chief operating officer Lawrence Burian, “LIV Golf is here to stay. The addition of Jon re-emphasises that our league is not slowing down. We are continuing to invest and build aggressively for LIV’s long-term and exciting future.”

Currently ranked third in the world, Rahm had previously been adamant that he would not join the league, although refraining from criticising those who have. In the immediate wake of his announcement, which had been rumoured for several weeks, he faced fierce criticism from the league’s most vehement opponents.

It is unclear, however, if his move will have serious consequences (losing U.S. PGA Tour and/or DP World Tour membership, Ryder Cup qualification eligibility, etc.) as this past summer – in an abrupt and widely derided about-face – the PGA Tour hierarchy agreed to discuss a merger deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls LIV Golf.

Details of that framework agreement were expected to be finalised by 31 December, but insiders remain unsure if Rahm’s bold enlistment will derail those plans or force the PGA Tour to succumb to  financial pressures and reluctantly acquiesce.     

Photos by Scott Taetsch/LIV Golf

Meanwhile, a clearly exultant LIV Golf said, “Rahm’s impact as one of the most dominant players of the past decade spans the globe. The 29-year-old has amassed 20 wins, including the 2023 Masters, 2021 U.S. Open, and the DP World Tour Championship three times (2017, 2019, 2022). The Spaniard has played in three consecutive Ryder Cups, helping lead Team Europe to victory in 2018 and 2023. This year, Rahm won four times while also finishing tied for second in the British Open Championship and tied for fifth in the DP World Tour Championship.

“Throughout his career, Rahm has earned 93 top-10 finishes with accolades including 2021 PGA of America player of the year, two-time European Tour (DP World Tour) golfer of the year, and 2019 European Tour Race to Dubai winner. Before turning pro, Rahm was the world’s number one-ranked amateur for a record 60 weeks, and twice won the Ben Hogan Award at Arizona State University as the nation’s top collegiate golfer.

Details of Rahm’s team will be announced at a later date. In 2023 the global sports league featured 12 teams, a 14-tournament schedule and 48 golfers. Founded in 2022, LIV Golf was “designed to expand the game on an international level and finally unlock the sport’s true and untapped economic and societal potential”.

Comments are closed.