Rory McIlroy wasn’t the only PGA Tour star to react to Jon Rahm’s move to LIV Golf on Thursday which sent shockwaves through the golf world.
Unlike the acrimony between the two sides a few years ago when LIV golf began, the PGA Tour players understood the decision Rahm made to defect to LIV, but acknowledged that it comes at a tough time because the Tour and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) have a deadline of Dec. 31 to finalize their partnership.
Rickie Fowler — who is teaming up with LPGA star Lexi Thompson in the three-day Grant Thornton Invitational that begins Friday in a co-sanctioned mixed-team event between the two tours — said he is still curious to see if the Tour and PIF can come to an agreement.
“(Rahm’s) decision doesn’t affect me necessarily, but it’ll be interesting to see how things continue to play out,” Fowler said, according to the Associated Press. “Timelines of things with the deal deadline being end of the year, it’s hard to really think that goes through just with the timing of it and how much would have to get done between now and then.”
Justin Rose — a teammate with Rahm on the European Ryder Cup team that throttled Team USA in Rome in September — said snagging the No. 3 player in the world was a coup for LIV.
“It’s a huge coup for LIV and obviously a huge blow for the PGA Tour,” Rose, who is teaming up with Charley Hull in the mixed-team event, said, according to the AP.
Rose’s other European Ryder Cup teammate, McIlroy — who resigned form the PGA Tour board in November — said the European Tour “absolutely” will need to change the Ryder Cup eligibility rules so Rahm can play on their team in 2025
Jason Day, who also is playing in the invitational and is teaming up with Lydia Ko, said losing Rahm is a blow to the Tour, but that it was his decision to make.
“I understand some guys do it for the money — a majority of the time it is for the money,” Day said, per the AP. “Unfortunately, we’re going to lose one. It would have been nice to get past this (agreement) deadline and see where this thing fell. I can’t fault him for making the decision for himself and his family.”
Regarding the Tour-PIF negotiations, Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was scheduled to meet this week with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the head of the PIF, but the meeting was delayed until next week.
It’s not known if that meeting remains on or how the announcement of Rahm, a two-time major winner, affects the negotiations.
There also was a report on Thursday that said Patrick Cantlay has been a key player in the negotiations for the PGA Tour.
“Multiple sources say Patrick Cantlay is ‘calling the shots’ for the PGA Tour,” tweeted Barstool Sports’ Dan Rapaport, who previously worked for Golf Digest and Sports Illustrated.