The Spaniard will become the second current major champion on the LIV circuit after the US PGA champion Brooks Koepka. After widespread reports this week that Rahm was set to complete a controversial switch from the PGA Tour, Rahm explained his decision in a conference call with press on Thursday.
“Every decision I feel like we make in life, there will be somebody who agrees and likes it and somebody who doesn’t,” Rahm said. “I made this decision because I believe it’s the best for me and my family. Everybody I’ve been able to talk to has been really supportive of me, so I’m very comfortable with my decision.”
“I’m no stranger to hearing some negative things on social media or in media,” the world number three added. “It’s part of what it is, we are public figures but you just learn to deal with it, right? This certainly won’t define or change who I am.”
In a subsequent official statement, the 29-year-old Rahm added. “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.”
Rahm is the biggest name to sign on with LIV Golf, funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), since Cameron Smith joined soon after winning the Open in 2022. He joins the likes of Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau in being tempted away from the PGA Tour by the rebel circuit.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report Rahm’s imminent defection, with multiple outlets carrying the news on Thursday before his announcement. ESPN has claimed Rahm’s LIV contract is expected to be worth more than $300m (€278 million) and run for at least three years.
ESPN also reports that LIV also will add a 13th team to their roster for Rahm to helm, give him an ownership stake and recruit more PGA Tour players to join his team. What is not yet clear is how the move might impact the agreement between PIF and the PGA Tour, which has a December 31st deadline to be formally completed.
Speaking in June, Rahm claimed many PGA Tour players felt “betrayal” after news of the shock merger first emerged earlier that month. “I think the general feeling is that a lot of people feel a bit of betrayal from management,” he said.
“It’s just not easy as a player that’s been involved, like many others, to wake up one day and see this bombshell,” Rahm added. “That’s why we’re all in a bit of a state of limbo because we don’t know what’s going on.”
The PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, is scheduled to meet with the PIF governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, next week. Monahan has previously called the 31 December date “a firm deadline” for a final agreement.