Jon Rahm explains why he’s leaving the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf in 2024

undefinedLIV Golf players and officials have been confident over the last few months that new talent will be joining the league for the 2024 season.

On Thursday the upstart circuit backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund made arguably its best acquisition yet in world No. 3 Jon Rahm. The 29-year-old is the reigning Masters champion as well as the 2021 U.S. Open champion who also boasts 11 PGA Tour and 10 DP World Tour wins.

The writing has been on the wall for weeks. Rahm backed out of the TGL – the new tech-infused league led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy – before the league was postponed until 2025. He also wasn’t listed in the field for the PGA Tour’s upcoming American Express next month, where he’s the defending champion.

On a conference call Thursday night with reporters, Rahm spoke about his legacy and said his move was because he likes the LIV Golf product, the idea of playing in different countries and the innovation the league is pushing. He also mentioned his legacy and that while he knows there will be blowback, he’s confident he made the right decision.

“Every decision I feel like we make in life there will be somebody who agrees and likes it and somebody who doesn’t, right. I made this decision because I believe it’s the best for me and my family and everybody I’ve been able to talk to has been really supportive of me,” Rahm explained. “So I’m very comfortable with my decision. I’m no stranger to hearing some negative things on social media or in media. It’s part of what it is, we’re public figures but you just learn to deal with it right? This certainly won’t define who I am or change who I am.”

ESPN reported that Rahm will have his own team and that LIV is recruiting more players to join, but the Spaniard was quiet on the details of his new deal.

Rahm was previously adamant that he wanted LIV Golf’s Sergio Garcia to be involved in last fall’s Ryder Cup, where he went 2-0-2 in a winning European effort, and hopes to still be involved in future editions.

“My position with the Ryder Cup stands as it’s always been. I love the Ryder Cup. I’ve explained many times how meaningful it is to me and I surely hope I can be in future editions of the Ryder Cup,” said Rahm, who noted the biennial bash against the Americans as the biggest hurdle he had to overcome in making his decision to leave for LIV. “That’s not up to me right now, but if it was up to me, I’ll be eligible to play so I surely hope I can keep up the good golf, keep playing good golf and give them a reason to have me on the team.”

“It’s a big risk to take, but I’ve had it in consideration and again, I’m hopeful that I can be part of the team again.”

But what about the format? After all, Rahm previously said the LIV format “is not really appealing to me. Shotgun three days to me is not a golf tournament, no cut. It’s that simple.”

But, opinions change.

“Obviously the past two years there’s been a lot of evolving on the game of golf, things have changed a lot and so have I,” Rahm said. “Seeing the growth of LIV Golf, seeing the evolution of LIV Golf and innovation is something that has really captured my attention.”

“I think the growth that I’ve seen and how it’s become a global business, right, and how we can impact golf globally, and in a much meaningful way, is something that’s been very enticing,” he continued. “For all those things that I like about this movement, there’s always going to be some things that are not perfect, but that’s the situation in everybody’s life. With that said, it’s an ever-growing and ever-changing machine, right. So I’m hopeful that the leaders of LIV Golf might listen to some of my advice and maybe see some changes in the future for the better of the game.”

Over 151 starts on the PGA Tour, Rahm has 11 wins, 10 runner-ups and 10 third-place finishes with $51,546,651.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek