Sunday, June 2, 2024

Jon Rahm Absence From Amex Golf Tournament Reignites LIV Rumors

A notable player will be absent from The American Express in mid-January, the first PGA Tour event held in the continental United States each year.

Jon Rahm, who won this event—formerly known as The Bob Hope Classic—in 2023, was not among the names announced for the 2024 edition on Tuesday, per Joel Beall of Golf Digest.

Some of the players that will compete include Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and Tom Kim.

Thus, the defending champion will not have the opportunity to defend his title, which consequently, reinvigorated his association with LIV Golf.

In recent weeks, the Rahm to LIV rumors have swelled, and many signs point to the two-time major champion making the jump to the Saudi-backed circuit.

He pulled out of the TGL league in early November, has close associations with Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, and now, the Spaniard will not defend a title of his on the PGA Tour.

“I’ve never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons,” Rahm said at the 2022 U.S. Open.

Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, DP World Tour Championship
Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy embrace after the opening round of the 2023 DP World Tour Championship.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“I have always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA Tour has that. There’s a meaning when you win the Memorial Championship. There’s a meaning when you win Arnold Palmer’s event at Bay Hill. There’s a meaning when you win [Los Angeles], Torrey [Pines], some of these historic venues. That to me matters a lot.”

The American Express pales in comparison to the Memorial or to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but the event does have plenty of history. It has always been played in Palm Springs, California in January, with the famous comedian Bob Hope hosting the game’s best players.

For many, Bob Hope’s event served as a reprieve from the harsh winters that descends upon most of the United Sates during January.

With that said, perhaps something has changed with Rahm.

Maybe he does go to LIV Golf after all.

He has been quiet about these rumors, as nobody from his camp has said a word about these whispers. Whereras in the past, the Spaniard has publicly squashed any notion of his association with LIV from the get-go. He most recently did so in August.

Despite that, this time of year in golf is relatively quiet. Stars like Rahm usually like to enjoy peace and quiet, especially after Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge. And on top of that, they use the month of December to sharpen their games, and get their mental and physical states ready for what is the grind of a PGA Tour season.

Perhaps Rahm is doing that now. Maybe he decided to skip The American Express to focus on other signature events, like The Sentry and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

But who knows.

The only thing for certain is that these next few weeks will be very interesting as we learn Rahm’s fate.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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