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Jon Rahm insisted he has not joined LIV Golf “for the money” after switching to the Saudi-backed series from the PGA Tour in a controversial deal reportedly worth up to £450m.
The Masters champion and World No 3 was a former critic of LIV Golf and previously said in 2022 that he did not like the LIV format and respected golf’s history too much to be influenced by financial offers.
Rahm previously pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour and said the “only appeal” of LIV Golf, which is played as a team-based competition over 54 holes, was money.
The Spaniard said: “Would my lifestyle change if I got $400m? It would not change one bit. Truth be told, I could retire now with what I have made and live a very happy life and not play golf again.”
Rahm’s switch to LIV Golf puts his future in the Ryder Cup at risk as, under current rules, the Spaniard will need to remain a member of the DP World Tour to be eligible.
“Things have changed a lot in the game of golf over the past two years and I’ve seen the growth of LIV Golf and the innovation,” Rahm told Fox News.
“That’s why I’m here today. This decision was made for many reasons and what I thought was best for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great deal.
“I’ve been very happy but there is a lot of things that LIV Golf has to offer that were very enticing. It was a great offer. The money is great, obviously it’s wonderful.
“What I said before is true: I do not play golf for the money. I play golf for the love of the game and for the love of golf.
“But, as a husband, as a father and as a family man I have a duty to my family to give them the best opportunities and the most amount of resources possible and that is where that comes in.
Rory McIlroy said he was ‘disappointed’ after Rahm’s move to LIV Golf was confirmed
“I’m no stranger to hearing some negative things on social media or in media. It’s part of what it is, we’re public figures but you just learn to deal with it right? This certainly won’t define who I am or change who I am.”
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy said Europe must make changes to its Ryder Cup qualification rules after Rahm’s controversial move to LIV Golf was confirmed.
Rahm has played in Europe’s last three Ryder Cup teams and was a key part in the stunning victory over the USA in Rome earlier this year after going unbeaten in his four matches.
Several European Ryder Cup greats, such Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson, were ruled out of Ryder Cup contention after LIV Golf was established in 2022.
Stenson, the former Open champion, even had the captaincy taken away after joining LIV Golf and the Swede was replaced by Luke Donald.
But McIlroy, who was once a critic of LIV Golf before the breakaway series signed a deal with the PGA Tour, insisted that Rahm should be allowed to play for Europe when they look to defend the Ryder Cup in the USA in 2025.
“Jon is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so, because of this decision, the European Tour are going to have to rewrite the rules for Ryder Cup eligibility,” McIlroy told Sky Sports News. “There’s absolutely no question about that: I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.
“I’m going to miss competing against him week in, week out. He has got so much talent, he’s so tenacious and he’s a great teammate in the Ryder Cup. The thing that I’ve realised is that you can’t judge someone for making a decision that they feel is the best thing for them.
“Is it disappointing to me? Yes, but the landscape of golf changed on 6 June, when the framework agreement was announced, and I think because of that it made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV a little bit easier for guys.
“They let the first guys really take the heat and then this framework agreement legitimised basically what LIV was trying to do, then I think it’s made it easier now if that’s really what you want to do.
“My opinion now is there’s only one great team event in golf and that’s the Ryder Cup and that’s never going to change. But if the public wants some more team competition, then you know you have to cater for what the public demands.”