Saturday, April 6, 2024

Jon Rahm sends heartfelt message to Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy amid LIV defection

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Jon Rahm’s decision to play on the LIV Golf circuit in 2024 sent shockwaves throughout the sport.

He previously expressed loyalty to the PGA Tour, while also voicing disdain for LIV Golf’s format. But as Rahm said Thursday, when making his announcement, something “changed” within him over the past few months.

Yet, what has not changed within Rahm is his affection towards Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Patrick Cantlay. These three players are PGA Tour loyalists and have vehemently tried to improve the structure of the tour as of late. All three have held positions on the PGA Tour Policy Board within the last couple of years, but McIlroy recently resigned.

Accordingly, Rahm sent this trio a heartfelt message while announcing his decision live on Fox News.

“The names that come to mind are Patrick Cantlay, Rory [McIlroy] and Tiger Woods,” Rahm said Thursday.

“They’ve spent a lot of time in meetings and phone calls learning about what the future of the game may look like, and I want to say thank you. I truly hope their resolve is what they want. This wasn’t anything personal with them. It was the choice for me and my family and the better of our future.”

Rahm will reportedly receive upwards of $550 million from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF)—LIV Golf’s beneficiary. His move comes just weeks before the Dec. 31, 2023, deadline, a date set by the PGA Tour and the PIF in their Jun. 6, 2023 framework agreement that—like Rahm’s announcement—shocked the sporting world, too.

Whether the two sides come together remains to be seen, but Rahm’s decision perhaps throws a wrinkle in the negotiations. The Spaniard has always been considered one of the PGA Tour’s most important assets.

Nevertheless, Rahm did not want to burn bridges, nor did he tarnish the PGA Tour. He even indicated Thursday that he still wants to play PGA Tour events in the future. Yet, LIV golfers remain suspended by the PGA Tour and cannot enter any tour events. But that could all change soon.

“I hope all the friends that I made still stay my friends,” Rahm added.

“I’m certainly not going to change, and who I am doesn’t really change.”

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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