Rory McIlroy rebuffs Jon Rahm LIV rumors after abrupt TGL exit
It seems reports of Jon Rahm’s PGA Tour demise have been greatly exaggerated.
At least, according to Rory McIlroy.
On Monday, McIlroy appeared in front of golf fans and golf media at a gathering for his franchise, the Boston Common, in his upstart golf league, the TGL. The press conference and ensuing event was the first time that anyone from the TGL had spoken publicly since the loss of reigning Masters champ Jon Rahm from the league. Pressed on Rahm’s rumored departure from the league in pursuit of LIV Golf, McIlroy couldn’t manage to stifle his laughter.
“I spoke to Jon a couple days ago and would be very, very surprised if that were to happen,” McIlroy said. “I’m pretty confident Jon is a PGA Tour player.”
Rahm, you might remember, backed out suddenly and cryptically from the TGL last week after initially voicing his support for the league, citing a required “level of commitment that I can’t offer.” While it’s entirely possible that Rahm pivoted due to concerns about travel schedule (the league will run early-week nights during the PGA Tour’s West Coast and Florida swings) or his family life (Rahm’s wife Kelley recently gave birth to their second child), it didn’t take long for the rumor mill to swirl with allegations linking the 28-year-old Spaniard to LIV.
Rahm has notably been one of LIV’s quietest critics among the A-list PGA Tour contingent — and his refusal to criticize any of LIV’s defectors (many of whom remain his regular playing partners) stands in stark contrast to many other Tour loyalists. This approach, along with Rahm’s continued friendship with mentor and LIV stalwart Phil Mickelson, has led to much speculation over the last two years that Rahm could be leaving open the option of jettisoning the Tour in favor of the rivals.
Of course, there’s little evidence to support the thesis. There’s little argument that Rahm’s initial reason for sticking with the Tour — that it is the premier pro tour in the world — remains true today. Add in the fact that the Saudi PIF and PGA Tour remain at a standstill in talks that could unite the two warring tours, and Rahm’s alleged run for the hills makes even less sense.
“The PGA Tour has done an amazing job giving us the best platform for us to perform,” Rahm said in 2022. “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 has also been critical of the Tour. The 2023 Masters champ has had no issue criticizing Tour policies he wishes to see changed — his impassioned plea for greater porta-potty access remains one of the great soundbites of the ’23 season — nor has he always agreed with the tact taken by Tour leadership. But for now, at least, it seems his pal Rory believes Rahm isn’t going anywhere.
Crisis averted. For now.