BROOKLINE — Jon Rahm admitted he understood the appeal the LIV Golf Invitational Series has on certain golfers, and while he’s not among them, he wouldn’t cast judgements.
“To be honest, part of the format is not really appealing to me,” Rahm said this week before kicking off his 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club. “Shotgun (start) three days to me is not a golf tournament, no cut. It’s that simple. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that’s been going on for hundreds of years. That’s what I want to see.”
Rahm, however, expressed serious concern about one specific trickle-down-effect the controversial LIV series could present. Rahm, a 27-year-old Spanish golfer now ranked No. 2 in the world, is worried how the Ryder Cup could be impacted. Sergio Garcia, Rahm’s countryman, is among the golfers to join LIV.
“I think the one thing that keeps coming to me out of all this and what can happen, I hope the Ryder Cup doesn’t suffer,” Rahm said. “I think the Ryder Cup is the biggest attraction the game of golf has to bring new people in, and I have such a good time with (Garcia) on the golf course and on the previous one in Paris. I hope we don’t lose the essence and the aspect that the Ryder Cup is.”
The Ryder Cup is an international competition between Europe and the United States held every two years. It’s scheduled to return to Europe in 2023.
“That’s one of my biggest concerns, to be honest,” Rahm continued. “It’s an event we all play for free, and it’s one of our favorite weeks, win or lose. I think that says a lot about the game and where I wish it would be at.”
The 2021 United States Ryder Cup team was represented by vice-captain Phil Mickelson along with Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. All three of those players have departed the PGA Tour and joined LIV. Another representative, Brooks Koepka, might be on his way to LIV, too.
“Are they going to be able to play Ryder Cup or not, the players that went?” Rahm questioned. “In my mind, Sergio, even if he is not breaking 90, he’s a no-brainer pick, right? So what’s going to happen? You have quite a few young Americans. Bryson went, somebody that’s probably going to be on the team in the future. Phil’s captaincy is probably in question now, where the PGA stands on all of this.
“We don’t know the European side of things yet. I have no idea what’s going on or what’s going on with the European Tour,” Rahm added. “In a worst-case scenario, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Golf fans seemingly don’t have to worry about Rahm’s standing in the event. Rahm, as others have, spoke passionately in defense of the PGA Tour leading up to the 122nd U.S. Open.
The controversial LIV golf series has been widely considered a money grab, given it is backed by Saudi Arabian investments. Mickelson reportedly was offered $200 million to join, and has since been met with backlash.
“Yeah, money is great, but when Kelley and I — this first thing happened, we started talking about it, and we’re like, will our lifestyle change if I got $400 million? No, it will not change one bit,” Rahm said. “Truth be told, I could retire right now with what I’ve made and live a very happy life and not play golf again. So I’ve never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons. I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world.
“I’ve always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA TOUR has that,” Rahm added. “My heart is with the PGA TOUR. That’s all I can say.”