Rahm 'thankful' for LIV Golf forcing PGA Tour to reflect and adapt

By Sports Desk March 07, 2023

Jon Rahm is a fan of the PGA Tour's recent changes to their schedule and prize money, and gave credit to LIV Golf during Tuesday's pre-tournament press conference at The Players Championship.

Rahm, who had won five of his previous nine events before last week's disappointment at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, has been the undisputed hottest player in golf this season.

With that form has come the title of world number one, as well as a nice boost to his bank account, having already won two of the four new 'elevated' events to take place so far on the PGA Tour calendar this year. He collected $2.7million for taking out the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and another $3.6m with his title at The Genesis Invitational.

The prize purses in those events have almost doubled since their designation as elevated events, designed to attract the tour's top players to the flagship tournaments – with 44 of the world's top 50 teeing it up at Bay Hill last week.

When asked what he thinks was the driving force behind the PGA Tour's recent innovations – including the announced no-cut events to debut next season – Rahm said it was obvious.

"Oh, it's LIV Golf," he said. "I mean, without a doubt. Without LIV Golf, this wouldn’t have happened.

"So to an extent, like I've said before, we should be thankful this threat has made the PGA Tour want to change things. 

"I think I said it last week, as well. I wish it didn’t come to the PGA Tour being, you know, under fire from somebody else to make those changes and make things better for the players, but I guess it is what we needed. 

"So, yeah, it is because of LIV Golf, otherwise we wouldn't have seen any of this."

While Rahm is thankful for the competition and the effects they have had, and has no hard feelings towards those who chose to jump ship, he reiterated that the PGA Tour is clearly the home of the most exciting and competitive golf.

"If you're not happy with the product, [LIV Golf signees] are free to do as they choose," he said. "I still think that the PGA Tour is the best platform for professional golfers. 

"Obviously they’re very different products and they differ in a lot of things, but it's not the same. Like I’ve said before, I’m not one to tell people what to do with their life and with their career. 

"I do think the changes that are happening are very positive – very, very positive. It’s only going to make it so, you know, the better players in the world play together more often, which at the end of the day is what the fans want to see."

His comments were similar to those from Rory McIlroy earlier this week, saying LIV Golf's presence forced the PGA Tour to reassess their "antiquated" format.

"I'm not going to sit here and lie; I think the emergence of LIV or the emergence of a competitor to the PGA Tour has benefitted everyone that plays elite professional golf," he said.

"When you've been the biggest golf league in the biggest market in the world for the last 60 years, there's not a lot of incentive to innovate.

"This has caused a ton of innovation at the PGA Tour, and what was quite, I would say, an antiquated system is being revamped to try to mirror where we're at in the world in the 21st century with the media landscape."

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