Jon Rahm expects ‘intense’ Masters championship dinner amid LIV Golf battle


File picture of John Rahm. AP:

Los Angeles: Spanish fifth-ranked Jon Rahm stated on Tuesday he expects extra PGA Tour gamers to go away for Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf in 2023 and anticipates a tense championship dinner on the Masters.

Rahm spoke Thursday earlier than the beginning of the PGA Match of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, a choose occasion for winners of Tour Championship qualifying occasions.

Rahm, the 2021 US Open champion, predicted extra golfers would depart the PGA regardless of elevated prize cash at choose occasions for the upper prize cash provided by LIV Golf.

“I believe everyone knows the place we stand,” Rahm stated. “There’ll nonetheless be gamers who select to modify to LIV, my guess.

“However for many of us, I believe we see the course the PGA Tour goes. They’re making the required modifications to adapt to the brand new period, and I believe that is higher for everybody.”

The PGA has elevated prize cash at a restricted variety of choose occasions to forestall prime expertise from leaving, as British Open champion Cam Smith of Australia did.

“It is an thrilling yr. We’re all excited by the way it will prove,” Rahm stated. “We’re all excited to see the way it develops.”

The Masters introduced final month that it might not change the qualifying standards for the 2023 Masters, making certain that LIV Golf gamers would have the ability to compete.

That features a number of latest inexperienced jacket winners, together with three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, fellow People Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson; Spain’s Sergio Garcia and South Africa’s Charles Schwartzel.

They’ll break bread with, amongst others, proud PGA supporter Tiger Woods.

And Augusta Nationwide President Fred Ridley, to not point out LIV Golf, made it clear that the cut up was an unwelcome improvement.

“Sadly, latest actions have divided males’s skilled golf, diminishing the deserves of the sport and the significant legacy of those that constructed it,” Ridley stated.

Rahm stated he needs he may very well be a fly on the wall for the Masters Champions Dinner at Augusta Nationwide in April, somewhat than the legendary menu of previous winners.

“It is most likely simply humorous to me, however I believe the Masters Champions Dinner goes to be a bit of bit tighter than it has been up to now,” Rahm stated.

“So I preserve eager about it as a result of I want I may very well be there and simply see how issues are going. Too unhealthy the US Open does not have a type of.”

Rahm stated golfers ought to take care of any private points on the majors.

“I did not really feel a distinction in any main final yr,” Rahm stated. “If somebody has an issue with LIV gamers, they’re simply not going to take care of them and that is it.

“I respect their alternative and people I was associates with, I am nonetheless going to be associates with. It does not change how I’ll function with them.”

Rahm says any main issues will be averted if gamers avoid one another, though that may be tougher relying on the Masters pairings.

“I believe a variety of the animosity, if there may be any, might come extra from (journalists) than anything,” Rahm stated. “I do not assume there may be that massive of an issue between the gamers, at the very least personally.”

Rahm desires the DP World Tour and the PGA of America to get on the identical web page for the Ryder Cup, hoping Europe can reclaim the trophy in Rome.

“Some people who find themselves going to must make some robust selections,” Rahm stated. “My guess is that hopefully the PGA of America and the European Tour will decide collectively. I do not assume it might be good to have one staff that permits LIV gamers and one that does not.”

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