At this point, it seems not a matter of if, but when Jon Rahm will make the leap from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf. The world No. 3 has been rumored to be in discussions with the 54-hole team circuit since the beginning with numerous reports surfacing around Thanksgiving that negotiations had heightened.
The Telegraph reported Tuesday that a deal between Rahm and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, who is leading the negotiations, is imminent and may be announced in the coming days. Fuel was added to the fire when Rahm, the defending champion at The American Express, was not among the early commitments to the field for Palm Springs in 2024.
Rahm has neither confirmed nor denied the potential leap with radio silence from his camp when asked for comment. He may not go, but this does present a stark contrast for the 29-year-old who has previously shot down rumors at the onset and given level-headed responses time and time again when peppered with questions regarding LIV Golf.
"Hypothetically, would it surprise me, yes, but there's so many different things that have happened in the last, as you said, 48 hours, but also in the last few weeks," said Tiger Woods at the Hero World Challenge. "Things have changed and will continue to change.
"Our deadline's coming up here soon, so there's a lot of moving parts, a lot of different things are happening very quickly, because today's the first day in December. We don't have a whole lot of time."
Rahm's potential departure comes at a time when the PGA Tour continues to negotiate with the PIF to house commercial operations under a new for-profit entity dubbed PGA Tour Enterprises. Commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed at the New York Times' DealBook Summit he would be meeting with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan this week to "advance conversations" ahead of the "firm target" date of Dec. 31.
Outside an agreement to make an agreement, as announced with framework details on June 6, nothing has been finalized between the PGA Tour and the financial backers of LIV Golf. Rahm may be seen as a $600 million bargaining chip in the eyes of Al-Rumayyan who can now meet with Monahan with the decisive upper hand and force additional concessions from the PGA Tour. If not granted, the poaching of star players may continue, muddying the already murky waters of professional golf.
"I'm not sure specifically how it would impact those negotiations, but all in all, Jon Rahm is one of the biggest assets that we have on the PGA Tour," said Jordan Spieth, who recently replaced Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour Policy Board. "So it would really be not very good for us in general because we want to play against the best players in the world, and that's what Jon is.
"I know there's been some guys that have talked to him. I know he's maybe weighing some decisions, maybe not. I really don't know, so I don't want to insult him and say he's weighing decisions if he already knows he's not or he is. That's somewhat out of my control, in a way. Obviously, I could speak probably on behalf of 200-plus PGA Tour players in saying that we really hope that he's continuing with us."