So, the ‘not so secret’ secret is finally out. Rahmbo is gone to LIV Golf and as would be expected these days, the world of social media has gone into meltdown with battle lines being drawn in the for and against camps.
Personally, I hate to see Jon Rahm leave the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour as he’s an incredible player. I was at Augusta this year when he donned the green jacket, have travelled to many other events to watch him play and would tune in to see him on television regularly. Those opportunities to see him play golf will be reduced now of course and while I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of the LIV transmissions, I will certainly be turning it on to watch him. And I guess that’s why they’ve paid him the big bucks!
Rahm also most definitely moves the needle, as they say, in the power struggle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf too. Given that the deadline (Dec 31) is looming for the finalised agreement between PGA Tour & PIF, the timing of such a huge investment from LIV raises a few questions. Could it be that the agreement we all think is coming, might not be as straightforward as thought? If that’s the case, then signing Rahm certainly tips the scales towards LIV and the PIF.
As for Jon Rahm himself, a lot has been made of his previous comments on LIV and how he pledged ‘fealty’ to the PGA Tour. But come on, €300/€400/€500 million? I can’t say I blame him for taking it.
Don’t forget Rahm’s big goal was winning majors and he now has a lifetime Masters exemption from his victory this year which also affords him a five-year exemption to the other majors, and his 2021 US Open win gets him a 10-year exemption there also. So, his immediate future, as far as the Majors are concerned, is secure. The Ryder Cup is a slightly different proposition, but I don’t doubt that when Luke Donald heard the news he went straight for the rule book to figure out how he can include one of Europe’s best and highest performing players at Bethpage in two years.
My biggest takeaway from all this though is that there’s too much money in golf. Given the numbers that play it, watch it in person or on television or interact with it in anyway the numbers being thrown around by the PGA Tour were crazy, never mind what LIV are doing.
For their part LIV are spending with seemingly no consequence. The pot is overflowing with cash and if you take some out of it then more will be put into it. There is no obvious commercial business model, or at least not one that lends itself to covering these astronomical fees in any sort of ‘this lifetime’ timeframe. But then maybe that’s the plan. Disrupt as much as possible and be able to afford to wait it out?
All in all though, I applaud Rahm’s decision. I’m not a fan of how it has been done or handled but he’s done what he feels is right for his family. He has now provided generational wealth for his entire family without really impacting too much on his major aspirations. Some might say that the quality of golf and the competition at LIV isn’t the same and he’s trading down etc. – and no it’s certainly not the same just now – but with Rahmbo in the field it’s just gotten a whole lot better and who knows what other names will follow suit.