Rahm set to join LIV on deal worth $300m-plus

golf07 December 2023 19:59| © Reuters
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Jon Rahm © Gallo Images

Two-time major champion Jon Rahm is expected to sign a massive deal to join LIV Golf, another hit for the PGA Tour as it races the clock to finalise an agreement to ally with the Saudi-backed league, multiple outlets reported on Thursday.

LIV already enticed Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and others from the PGA Tour with huge paydays, but adding Rahm – the No 3 player in the world and an immensely popular player among fans – would be a severe hit for the tour.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report the Rahm defection, with ESPN and Sports Illustrated later confirming it.

While overseas media valued the deal at $600 million, ESPN said Rahm's LIV contract is expected to be for more than three years and worth more than $300 million.

Under the terms, LIV also will add a 13th team for Rahm to helm and give him an ownership stake, per ESPN, which added that LIV is recruiting PGA Tour players to add to Rahm's team.

In June, the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia announced an agreement to join forces, and there's a 31 December deadline to seal the deal.

How Rahm joining LIV's roster will impact the alliance isn't clear.

Rahm, 29, won the 2021 US Open and the 2023 Masters, two of his 11 PGA Tour victories.

He completed his most successful season this year, winning four events.

The Spaniard, who helped Team Europe win the Ryder Cup this fall, has career earnings on tour of $51.5 million since joining in 2016. His rumoured LIV contract would dwarf that amount.

Since the emergence of LIV Golf in 2022, Rahm has been one of the PGA Tour's staunchest supporters and has spoken critically of LIV.

Perhaps with an eye toward joining LIV, however, Rahm recently pulled out of the Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy-led TGL virtual golf league and has yet to commit to playing in January in the American Express in La Quinta, California, where he is the defending champion.