McIlroy would be ‘very surprised’ if Rahm leaves PGA Tour

golf06 November 2023 20:57| © Reuters
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Jon Rahm © Gallo Images

When Jon Rahm announced he was backing out of TGL, the new indoor golf league spearheaded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, it ignited rumours that the Spaniard might be planning a leap from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf.

McIlroy doesn't see it that way.

The four-time major champion spoke with reporters at a press conference for his TGL team, Boston Common, on Monday and said Rahm has given him the impression he is staying with the PGA.

"I spoke to Jon a couple days ago and would be very, very surprised if that were to happen ... I'm pretty confident Jon is a PGA Tour player," McIlroy said.

Rahm, the reigning Masters champ, bowed out of TGL last Thursday after he was included in an initial roster of 24 players who would participate in the league.

"I am sad to confirm that I will not be participating in the first TGL season," Rahm wrote on social media.

"While I still think it's a great opportunity, right now it would require a level of commitment that I can't offer. Best of luck to everyone (involved) and may the best team win!"

A statement from TGL officials said they "understand that players have to balance a lot of different facets of their professional and personal lives and respect Jon's choice and wish him well."

In the past, Rahm has not been as vocal a critic of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf League as McIlroy, and he wanted fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia to be included in future Ryder Cup teams despite his defection to LIV.

But Rahm made clear in June 2022 that he did not play golf for monetary reasons and he didn't consider LIV's 54-hole, no-cut format to be worthwhile.

"I've always been interested in history and legacy and right now the PGA Tour has that," he said. "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 LA, Torrey (Pines), some of these historic venues. That, to me, matters a lot.

"My heart is with the PGA Tour."

The PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund entered a framework agreement last June that would see the established tours receive funding from the Saudis in a new for-profit enterprise.

Details were scarce and a 31 December deadline was set to come to a more concrete deal.