With Jon Rahm Switching Sides, LIV Golf Merger Is PGA Tour’s Only Hope; Here’s Why?

Published 12/08/2023, 1:35 PM EST

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For the second time in a row, the PGA Tour will be losing its ace player to LIV Golf as they acquired Jon Rahm in with an alleged $500 million deal. The announcement of Rahm joining the Saudi-backed league has shocked many, however, it is the PGA Tour getting severely impacted as it will lose to the LIV Golf once again.

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The American League was already under pressure as the golfers were doubting the leadership and showed their concern about the league’s future. With the recent hit of Rahm’s deal, the merger with PIF is looking like the only resolution for two main reasons. What are those? Let’s discuss below.

The PGA Tour can’t afford to lose another player

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The LIV Golf came into existence in 2022. To gain the popularity of the masses, the league hunted down the PGA Tour pros and lured them in with lucrative deals, something the PGA Tour did not offer. Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and many others played at the inaugural invitational of LIV Golf in June 2022 and subsequently got suspended from the PGA Tour.

As the newest fire of LIV Golf vs PGA Tour was rising, the PIF-backed league added another great PGAT golfer to its roster. Cameron Smith, the 2022 British Open winner, joined the league a month after his Claret Jug victory. The year was going smoothly for Smith as he won several tournaments and was tied for 3rd at the 2022 Masters. However, soon after this, Smith joined the LIV Golf reportedly for $100 million.

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Following a similar path, Jon Rahm became the second major winner to join LIV after Smith. Rahm had won 4 events in 2023, including his green jacket. Moreover, he earned the world no.3 title, came third on the PIP, and gained $9 million, acquiring more than $16 million in this season alone. However, despite his fantastic run on the PGA Tour, the Spaniard chose to make a grand entry into Saudi’s arena and will be leading his team.

The loss was rightly felt by his sincere friend, Rory McIlroy. the 4x major champ released his statements through Sky Sports, he said, “If LIV start to take a few players each and every year it’s really going to be divided and that’s no good for anyone.”

McIlroy continued and suggested that the only solution is the PIF-PGA Tour merger framework, which will take everyone under one umbrella and will be beneficial for golf’s future. With the deadline set on 31st December, the future of the PGA Tour is awaiting the final move that will decide the fate of its golfer and the league.

Players increasing trust issues in the leadership

After heavily criticizing and opposing the Greg Norman-led league, the PGA Tour shocked the golf world when it announced a merger deal with the PIF- the fund behind LIV Golf’s success. The players were dumbfounded, as they were hearing the news for the first time and it was not disclosed to the very embers who will be affected by it.

To regain players’ trust, the league added new players to the Players Advisory Council and started consulting more. However, as time passed, there were discrepancies reported by players. Chris Stroud- who will be playing at LIV Golf Promotion- lamented, “The Tour doesn’t care about you if you’re not in the Top 30.” 

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The grievance was deepening day by day and, as a result, an anonymous group of players signed a petition against the league and demanded a special meeting concerning 4 main issues. The listicle followed the varied points subjected to signature events versus full field events, fewer no. of signature events, the concerns regarding the Player Impact Program, and issues related to the leadership and Player Directors on the PGA Tour.

The recent turn of events has hit the PGA Tour badly. While the Tour might heal from Rahm’s absence, the issue at hand is the player’s petition. With many things coming at once for the PGA Tour, the only way out is with the finalization of the PIF and PGA Tour merger.

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The merger will bring more money into the game, with it being fairly divided between the players. While another benefit of the merger is, the PGA Tour potentially inviting back the likes of its legendary players and the recent addition Jon Rahm. The last date for the completion of the framework is 31st December, which will be a historical event for the coming years.

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Written by:

Khambe Huda Imran

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One take at a time

From a very young age, I, Huda Khambe, have been striving for excellence, and as a Golf Writer at EssentiallySports, my endeavor has only amplified. Having grown up watching Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam bag major after major, I couldn?t help but learn more about the intricacies of the sport, and now I combine that knowledge with my inherent storytelling skills and write about the gentleman's sport, bringing news to life for the readers. As a journalist who lives by the motto 'Girls for Girls', I am hellbent on covering the niche aspects of the sport and giving the readers unique insights about the LPGA and women's golf as a whole. Off hours too, my life involves sports of sorts, with me often engrossed in watching livestreams of Valorant and Counterstrike!
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Edited by:

Debmallya Chakraborty

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