Rahm: Masters win was ‘huge step’ to LIV jump

Winning last year’s Masters, and the guaranteed spots in multiple majors that came with it, was a decisive factor in Jon Rahm‘s decision to switch to LIV Golf, according to the big-hitting Spaniard whose move stunned the golf world.

Rahm announced in December that he was joining the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf League and made his debut in Mexico last weekend, finishing in a tie for third.

The 29-year-old had initially played down his chances of switching to LIV Golf, saying the huge financial incentives up for grabs did not really interest him.

But he now concedes that the money being offered was hard to turn down while the fact that he is guaranteed to be able to play in the Masters helped make up his mind.

“Winning the Masters was a huge step towards maybe thinking about it,” Rahm told Golf.com’s Breakthrough. “Being exempt from majors, knowing that most likely you can play the Masters for life and the U.S. Open at least until 2031, you know, I’m set with two of those, right, so it was a big determining factor.”

Rahm reportedly received more than $300 million to join LIV Golf, and while he says he meant what he said in 2022 that he was already wealthy enough to enjoy a great lifestyle, the sums being offered eventually were too tempting.

“When I said that, I fully meant it and it was true. Now, when they slap you with a large amount of money in your face, your feelings do change,” Rahm said. “I try not to be a materialistic person, but I do owe it to my family as well to set them up for success the best I can, and having kids I think changed that quite a bit. So the money is a part of it, I’m not going to lie.”

Talks over a potential merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have been ongoing since a framework agreement was reached in June, although an initial Dec. 31 deadline to rubber-stamp the deal was missed.

Rahm said he hopes his decision to play LIV Golf might even help the two parties come together for the good of the sport.

“I truly hope that things can come together,” he said. “I’m just hoping that we get to a point where it’s coherent and there is coexistence and there’s a path for people to enjoy the same perks that you have the tours.

“I hope that me coming is at least tipping the scales a little bit for the world of golf to come together because I do see a situation where we can end up with a great product for the crowds and to have golf as a better entertainment business than it was before.”

Rahm will play in his second LIV Golf event at the Las Vegas Country Club this week. But conceded it is disappointing not being able to play his favorite tournaments on the PGA Tour.

“I’m hoping that in the near future I can be back playing some of those events,” Rahm told reporters Tuesday. “I would certainly love to go back and play some of them.

“If there’s ever a way back and a way where we can play, even if it’s as an invite, I will take it. There’s certain events that are special to me that I would still love to support.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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