Golf: PGA Tour players should be 'thankful' for LIV, says Spain star Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm thinks all of the animus between LIV and the PGA Tour is a “waste of time.” PHOTO: AFP

LONDON – Count Jon Rahm among those who is thankful for the advent of the LIV Golf Series.

Thanks to the renegade Saudi Arabia-backed circuit, purses on the PGA Tour have gone up precipitously and the Player Impact Program money increased from US$40 million (S$54 million) to US$100 million in one year.

“On this side of things we should be thankful that LIV happened,” the Spaniard said on Wednesday, ahead of the 2022 Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. “I don’t know if those changes would have happened if LIV wasn’t in the picture. So to an extent, yeah, we should be thankful.”

He also felt the animus between LIV and the PGA Tour is a “waste of time.” After all, fans are the ones who benefit.

“I just hope ... the animosity goes away,” Rahm said. “I don’t think there needs to be a lawsuit, I don’t think each side needs to be saying anything negative about each other. LIV can do their thing and the PGA Tour can do their thing.

“I just don’t see the whole point of them saying something bad and then the PGA Tour responding in a way. That to me is just a bit of a waste of time. They’re going to do whatever they want and on this side, we’re going to do whatever we want. At the end of the day, I think the fans are coming out on top,” the former world No. 1 added.

He opened Thursday’s first round of the Hero event with a 73 and was four behind the pack of leaders that featured American Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland of Norway, South Korean Tom Kim and Austria’s Sepp Straka, who was a late replacement for tournament host Tiger Woods. He withdrew to plantar fasciitis.

The quartet are one shot ahead of Sam Burns. Cameron Young, Max Homa and England’s Tommy Fleetwood are tied at 71 followed by Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau on 72. The field features just 20 players.

Defending champion Hovland’s drive at the 307-yard 14th hole landed on the green and rolled just by the cup, narrowly missing an ultra-rare hole-in-one on a par 4.

“I like kind of drivable holes because when I’m hitting my driver well, I feel like I can be pretty aggressive,” he said. “And that green obviously is not the biggest green, but with how soft it is, if you land it on the green, you can keep it on the green whereas if it was really firm, you kind of have to land it up in the slope and stuff.” REUTERS

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