Jon Rahm has rubbished Phil Mickelson’s comments that LIV Golf is on the way up while the PGA Tour is declining.
Six-time major winner Mickelson believes he is on ‘the winning side’ of the current divide in the sport in what is a complete u-turn from his scathing comments about the Saudi backed tour stating they were ‘scary m************’ which almost brought the LIV Golf idea to its knees.
The left-hander now believes ‘the game of golf is very lucky to have the PIF invest in the game.’
World number five Rahm was asked to weigh in on these comments in a pre-tournament press conference at the CJ Cup and he cut a bewildered figure.
“Man, I love Phil, but I don’t know what he’s talking about. I really, I really don’t know why he said that,” said the former world number one. “There’s been some changes being made, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going down, right? I truly don’t know why he said that. Don’t know. I really, I really don’t know.
“I think there’s some great changes being made and great changes for the players on the Tour. I truly don’t know what drove him to say something like that.”
The Spaniard came in for some criticism a fortnight ago when he proposed that LIV rebels should be allowed play in the Ryder Cup in order for the biennial contest to have the best players.
His compatriot and record points scorer in the competition Sergio Garcia appears unlikely to feature in Rome next year citing he feels unwelcome in Team Europe and Rahm admits it is an unusual situation as a potentially youthful looking European side face a golden generation from the United States.
“So far the two Ryder Cups I’ve been a part of, once you arrive and you’re in that team environment, it’s an unusual situation where everybody can be truly themselves with players that they maybe usually are not. So you need to have that welcoming aspect. If there’s some animosity between players, it’s just not going to work out. Very few teams can succeed when players don’t get along.
“I don’t know if you can really make that happen. Like I’ve said many times, I want Europe to have the strongest team they can have, we can have. Hopefully I’ll be in Rome. Yeah, so I want the best players at the time and the best Ryder Cup players to be there, but if that includes having some bad blood and having some issues, I don’t know if that’s necessarily a thing, right?
“Obviously Rory mentioned this, a lot of young players playing great and if things can get worked out, obviously those people are going to have a start. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a chance, it means we’re going to have a young team, which is not a bad thing. U.S. last year did okay with a young team, so hopefully we can do the same.
“Plus, a lot of those young players, a lot of us in Europe have grown up playing for our national team, have grown up playing match play for a national team, playing foursomes, four-balls, individual matches and being part of a team, so they’re already used to the dynamics. It’s just experience in the Ryder Cup, which obviously it’s a bigger task.”