Jon Rahm says members of PGA Tour feel ‘betrayal’ after partnership with LIV Golf

World No. 2 Jon Rahm has said “a lot” of players on the PGA Tour feel “betrayal” after the shock announcement of its partnership with LIV Golf.

Rahm, speaking ahead of the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club in California which begins on Thursday, called last week’s news a “bombshell” to him and his colleagues.

“Well, there’s a lot of not-answered questions. It’s tough when it’s the week before a major. Trying not to think about it as much as possible,” the Spanish player told reporters.

“I think it gets to a point where you want to have faith in management, and I want to have faith that this is the best thing for all of us, but it’s clear that that’s not the consensus. I think the general feeling is that a lot of people feel a bit of betrayal from management.”

“I understand why they had to keep it so secret,” he added, citing the likelihood of leaks to the media.

“It’s just not easy as a player that’s been involved, like many others, to wake up one day and see this bombshell. That’s why we’re all in a bit of a state of limbo because we don’t know what’s going on and how much is finalized and how much they can talk about, either.”

Last week, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced a partnership with the European-based DP World Tour and LIV Golf, unifying the trio under a new, yet-to-be-named, commercial entity and consequently ending a feud that has dogged the men’s professional game for the past year.

The announcement led to the US Senate opening an investigation into the proposed merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s owners – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – on Monday.

The decision appeared to take the golfing world by surprise, including Rahm, who said he was having a “normal morning making coffee and breakfast” when he describes “texts just flowing in.”

“I thought my phone was going to catch on fire at one point. There were so many questions that I just couldn’t answer. It’s basically what it was,” he said.

“I think it was that day at one point I told (Rahm’s wife) Kelley I’m just going to throw my phone in the drawer and not look at it for the next four hours because I can’t deal with this anymore.”

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler echoed Rahm’s surprise, saying in his pre-major press conference that he found out the news while at the gym. “I didn’t really know what was going on. Still don’t really have a clue,” Scheffler added.

While Rahm admitted that he wasn’t a fan of the shifting sands, he would bow to the people making decisions.

“It’s a state of uncertainty that we don’t love, but at the end of the day, I’m not a business expert. Some of those guys on the board and involved in this are (experts),” he said.

“So I’d like to think they’re going to make a better decision than I would, but I don’t know. We’ll see. There’s still too many questions to be answered.”

Questions remaining

The partnership seemingly ends a year of division in golf, and with it, animosities between the two sides of golf.

The decisions of some players to leave the established PGA Tour and DP World Tour to sign up with LIV Golf last year were met with consternation by many others.

Now, with the two sides uniting once again, it opens questions about LIV Golf players’ eligibility for this year’s Ryder Cup which begins in September.

Rahm has been a strong advocate of allowing LIV Golf players to be allowed to compete in the biennial tournament. Players wanting to be a member of Team Europe need to be from Europe and a member of the DP World Tour.

However, players who left to join LIV Golf resigned their DP World Tour membership to do so. If they wanted to apply to rejoin the tour for the 2023 season, they had to hand in their documentation to do so by May 1.

DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley said subsequent requests would require proof of an exceptional circumstance to be granted, something he said would “be difficult and highly unlikely that that would happen,” per Reuters.

Team Europe’s all-time leading scorer and Rahm’s compatriot Sergio Garcia would miss out under those current regulations.

Rahm said that he has “no idea” about whether that will change and that he would support Team Europe’s captain Luke Donald.

“Again, we have no clue. The only thing I can say at this point is I have faith in Luke Donald, and I have faith that Luke is going to do the best and he’s going to try to make the best decision for Team Europe, and that’s all I can do,” the Spaniard said.

“At the end of the day he’s the captain and I’m not. It’s his ship to steer. I have faith in my captain and I’m hoping – not hoping. I’m sure we’re going to end up with the best team we can end up with.”

For the US Ryder Cup team, players who join LIV can still compete as they didn’t have to give up their PGA of America membership – they were banned from the PGA Tour – and the association is one of the organizers of the event.

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