World No. 3 Jon Rahm defects to LIV Golf
The GIST: In a true change in tune, world No. 3 Jon Rahm is defecting to the Saudi Arabian–backed LIV Golf, a stunning blow to the PGA Tour in the continually chaotic world of men’s professional golf. You either die a hero…
The details: The defending Masters champion reportedly signed a three-year deal worth more than $300M, proving, once again, that money talks.
- Additionally, the contract includes a lucrative ownership stake in a new LIV Golf team that the league plans to fill with even more PGA players. *gulp*
The context: In 2022, LIV burst on the scene as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund’s official foray into golf and part of the country’s growing sports portfolio. Created to compete with the PGA, LIV drew immediate outrage as a prime example of sportswashing Saudi Arabia’s atrocious human rights record.
- Then in June 2023, LIV and the PGA announced a shocking merger after a bitter year-long rivalry full of sh!t talking. However, as of today, the deal is not finalized, as the entities agreed to only make an agreement…by December 31st.
- Poaching Rahm, a two-time major and 11-time PGA Tour winner, is a serious power move by the Saudis, one that indicates LIV isn’t going anywhere, alliance or not.
Zooming out: Heading back into negotiations, the PGA has a serious problem on its hands: if the Saudis’ endless wealth can convince an elite, likable, enigmatic talent like Rahm to go back on his word, one can only wonder, who’s next?