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Jon Rahm Joins LIV Golf Tour, Settles Into His Villain Arc

Jon Rahm Joins LIV Golf, Settles Into His Villain Arc

by Bo McBrayer

Professional golf is a strange concept from a bird’s eye perspective. Take the game itself, rife with negative stereotypes surrounding income inequality and exclusionary boundaries rooted in prejudice. It’s a maddening sport to play, somewhere between a solo therapy session with one’s own Tyler Durden and running up an icy hill barefoot. To reach the pinnacle of the sport requires otherworldly talent and dedication, so why do I care if an elite golfer cashes in on his or her talent?

I am a fan of professional golf, but an “allegiance” to a certain tour or entity is a silly fabrication. The illusion that golf fans will stop watching their favorite athletes excel at such a beautiful game because they sign with a competing entity has been propagated by the old guard, the PGA Tour.

As a “tour,” try to picture it as a white-collar traveling circus. That’s what it is. The performers are not so much indentured or downtrodden as they are uniquely skilled independent contractors. Investors are banks and oil companies rather than local excavation companies and seafood restaurants.

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Jon Rahm Joins LIV Golf, Settles Into His Villain Arc

Livin’ the Sueño

One such investor in the professional golf world has been mired with substantial suspicion and brow-furrowing. The LIV Golf Tour is bankrolled by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Yes, it’s the same Saudi government responsible for funding numerous documented acts of terrorism and murder for hire. The religious leadership weaponizes the teachings of Islam as justification for bone-chilling crimes against humanity. The PIF is in charge of the continued enrichment of the kingdom, and they saw an opportunity for such growth in the world of professional golf.

Never mind the gimmicky team formats and 54-hole tournaments without a cut, the PIF sought out the world’s most renowned professional golfers for the LIV Golf Tour and used the most effective recruitment tool of all: life-altering riches. Tiger Woods turned down nearly a billion dollars to become the face of the new tour. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka joined Phil Mickelson as acceptors of nine-figure guaranteed deals. Many others joined for sums that far eclipsed years of scratching and clawing to reach a level of gameplay that, until LIV was created, only promised a fleeting window of riches for a very select few. The PGA Tour’s bluff was called. They were holding muck against a literal royal flush.

Jon Rahm Joins LIV Golf

Jon Rahm didn’t want to join LIV Golf. He was loyal to a fault last year when so many of his peers buckled under the immense weight of the bag left on their doorstep. As one of the top golfers in the world, Rahm wasn’t attracted to the idea of going from playing in Majors and legacy tournaments against the best collection of golfers on the planet to a cut-free stroll through the countryside with little to no incentive to actually win. It was the PGA Tour who drove one of their headliners to the competition.

The villainous storylines around every LIV defector are all PGA Tour propaganda. Jay Monahan screwed the pooch and left everyone who would be affected by his decision-making in the dark while also writing checks he couldn’t cash to placate them. “DJ,” “Brooksie” and Mickelson were all beloved by golf fans until they “signed away their soul in blood.” So dramatic.

They are no more villains than those ready to push off in a skiff at the first scrape of the iceberg against the ship’s hull. The source of the money is irrelevant to a businessperson so long as their transaction, in particular, is lawful. Rahm climbed aboard another vessel instead of plunging into the frigid depths as the violins struck a minor chord.

The Ripple Effect

So what now? The PGA Tour’s shady backroom deal with LIV Golf is in serious jeopardy now, with antitrust lawsuits chocked with merit raining down on the obviously desperate last gasp for the traveling circus. LIV Golf stands to flourish either way.

Any rumor that PIF “doesn’t care if it loses money” is hogwash. The Saudis only care about growing that fund through investment, while the Rahm deal cements their entrenchment in the sport’s future. Regardless of format or eligibility in Major tournaments, the direction of professional golf now falls at the feet of the kingdom.

I project no blame either way, except maybe to the PGA Tour for failing to uphold its responsibility to its members to maintain governance over the health of the sport. In that very important aspect, they have failed us (the fans). The players will play, regardless.

Thanks for reading my opinion on Jon Rahm joining LIV Golf! Find all my work on Twitter, @Bo_McBigTime, and check out my huge collection of decadence at BigTime FlavorCo. Be sure to give “The 19th Hole” a watch for my PGA DFS and betting analysis  – every Tuesday during the PGA season at 8:30 p.m. EST on our YouTube channel.

*Photo Credit: Chris Day/The Commercial Appeal – USA TODAY Sports*

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1 comment

Taylor Schlom December 13, 2023 - 9:19 pm

Love the take! Great for people to help wrap their heads around things (for now).
Especially love the Tyler Durden reference-that rings true!

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