LOS ANGELES – Jon Rahm wasn’t listed on the pre-tournament press conference schedule here at the Genesis Invitational, but he still had something to say. His management team got in touch with the Tour, and after 1 p.m. local time Wednesday, Rahm walked into the scrum area outside the clubhouse at Riviera for an impromptu presser.
“This is my official, my one and only time I’ll talk about this, where I am officially declaring my fealty to the PGA Tour,” Rahm said. “I’m a PAC member, and I have a lot of belief in (commissioner) Jay Monahan and the product that they’re going to give us in the future. There has been a lot of talk and speculation about the Saudi league. It’s just not something I believe is the best for me and my future in golf, and I think the best legacy I can accomplish will be with the PGA Tour.”
The chatter surrounding the breakaway circuit has grown to a fever pitch, with players signing non-disclosure agreements and Tour player Kramer Hickok saying on a podcast this week that 17 players are poised to join the new league.
Rahm, a member of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council, said that he hasn’t had a single conversation with officials from the rival league. He also doesn’t really discuss the would-be threat with any of the other players, either. Of the top players in the world, he said he is likely the least plugged-in about any of the details – and that’s intentional.
Full-field tee times from The Genesis Invitational
Rahm instructed his management team to only approach him with a proposal when it was real, or concrete. “And it never came back,” he said.
As for those who do make the leap, Rahm said that each player has a personal choice to make but that he isn’t motivated by monetary gain – and that’s mostly what the Saudi-backed league seems to be offering.
“They throw numbers at you, and that’s supposed to impress people,” said Rahm, who in five-plus seasons on Tour has already banked more than $31 million in on-course earnings. “I’m in this game for the love of golf and the love of the game and to become a champion. I grew up watching many great players play great events such as this one, and there’s history and legacy to those things. That’s something that has a lot of appeal to me.”
By siding with the Tour, Rahm joins other high-profile players like Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas. Tiger Woods on Wednesday also reiterated his support for the Tour.
“Everyone’s free to make their own choice, it’s as simple as that,” Rahm said. “All I can say is somebody young like myself who has his entire future ahead of him, it doesn’t seem like a smart thing.
“Again, the only appeal I see is monetary, right? I think there’s a lot more to be able to play for besides just money on the PGA Tour. There’s history. There’s legacy. At the end of the day, I’m in this to win tournaments. I’m in this to play against the best in the world. That has a lot of value to it.”