Jon Rahm knows exactly what he said back in June 2022, and he was well aware it was a question he’d face often as he made the media rounds when he was announced as LIV Golf’s splashy new signee.
So before we go forward, let’s take a step back.
“Money is great, but when [my wife] Kelley and I started talking about it, and we’re like, Will our lifestyle change if I got $400 million? No, it will not change one bit,” Rahm said back in 2022, prior to the U.S. Open, when asked about the possibility of joining LIV Golf. “Truth be told, I could retire right now with what I’ve made and live a very happy life and not play golf again. So I’ve never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons. I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. I’ve always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA Tour has that.”
But a lot can change in 18 months, especially in today’s world of pro golf. Like in December, when something that was long rumored turned out to be true and Rahm officially joined LIV for the 2024 season.
So, what gives?
“I’d say there was two instances,” said Rahm, speaking to GOLF’s Dylan Dethier in the latest episode of “Breakthrough,” which you can watch on YouTube right here. “I think dynamics started to change and there was a lot of division at that time. And yes, for me to want to change, there had to be reasons beyond the money, right? So when I said that [in June 2022] I fully meant it and it was true. Now, when they slap you with a large amount of money in your face, your feelings do change. I try not to be a materialistic person, but I do owe it to my family as well to set them up for success the best I can, and having kids I think changed that quite a bit. So the money is a part of it; I’m not going to lie. But again, when I said that I wasn’t fully aware of what I was saying because you don’t really understand.”
So there’s a different emotion when it’s like, OK, there is a reality here — you could get this massive amount of money?
Dethier and Rahm sat down at The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Fla., last month, to talk in length about Rahm’s upbringing, other sports he played growing up (canoeing club!), finding his footing in golf, his peculiar college recruitment story, what it was like winning the Masters and more.
In fact, Rahm said his Masters win, coupled with his 2021 U.S. Open victory, was a “big determining factor” in signing with LIV. An Augusta victory means you are invited back for life, and Rahm is exempt into the U.S. Open through at least 2031.
Another factor? The shifting dynamics in golf.
“What opened the door a little bit was that PGA Tour and LIV agreement,” Rahm said. “So when that happened, I was like, well, we are definitely coming together. There is something happening, so at least I owe it to myself to hear what they have to offer and what their vision is. I figured I owed it to myself to hear them out, which is what I did when the season was over.”
Even in the couple of weeks following Rahm’s sitdown with Dethier, the golf world has continued to change. Last week, the Tour announced an investment of up to $3 billion from the Strategic Sports Group. As for an official deal with the Saudi PIF? That’s still on hold.
You catch watch Rahm’s complete “Breakthrough” interview above, or by clicking here.