Jon Rahm makes surprising WD from Tiger Woods-led golf league

john rahm looks on at a golf tournament

The new tech-infused golf league led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy took a hit when World No. 3 Jon Rahm decided to back out.

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More and more details continue to emerge about the new, tech-infused golf league led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, but on Thursday the operation took a hit when World No. 3 Jon Rahm, one of the first players to initially commit to the new venture, backed out.

The league, dubbed TGL, will debut on ESPN on Jan. 9, and so far this week it announced its format and even one complete four-person roster. The league has 24 players (six teams of four), but recently Rahm’s named was dropped off the website.

A spokesperson confirmed Rahm’s departure to the Sports Business Journal, saying: “We will miss him during the inaugural TGL season. We understand that players have to balance a lot of different facets of their professional and personal lives and respect Jon’s choice and wish him well.”

Speculation started to swirl regarding the reasoning behind Rahm’s abrupt exit and even stirred up some social media chatter about whether this was a hint Rahm was contemplating LIV Golf. The two-time major champ took to Twitter on Thursday morning to explain his decision.

“I am sad to confirm that I will not be participating in the first TGL season,” he wrote. “While I still think it’s a great opportunity, right now it would require a level of commitment that I can’t offer. Best of luck to everyone envolved (sic) and may the best team win!”

As for the LIV rumblings? Back in August, Rahm joined the Golf Sin Etiquetas podcast and said “I laugh” when people include his name with LIV Golf rumors. Yet just last month Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said it’s “inevitable” others will leave the PGA Tour for LIV, which just finished its second season.

“Rahm worries me a bit as he seems open to the idea,” Chamblee said. “But I sense that his deep knowledge of the history of the game and his obvious future place in it will keep him from selling out. I hope that’s the case.”

“I never liked the format [of LIV],” Rahm said on Golf Sin Etiquetas. “And I always have a good time with Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia in the practice rounds of majors. Phil respects my decision, and I respect his [choice]. Mickelson has told me that I have no reason to go play for LIV, and he has told me that multiple times.”

While the lineup for TGL is loaded with stars (like Woods himself), Rahm joins a list of notable top players who aren’t in it — a list that includes Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth.

The league also announced its first full team on Thursday, with McIlroy, Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley and Tyrrell Hatton joining the Boston Common Golf squad. Previously, Justin Thomas joined Atlanta Drive GC, and Collin Morikawa joined Los Angeles Golf Club. Atlanta, Boston, LA, New York and San Francisco make up five of the six teams, with one more to be announced.

To learn more about TGL and its format, click here.

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