Beef: “The PGA Tour only has itself to blame for Rahm joining LIV”

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston says the PGA Tour went behind players’ backs, he’s not surprised to see the likes of Jon Rahm ending his loyalty.

Jon Rahm has joined LIV Golf after weeks of rumors and social media chat, and it’s be a huge coup for Greg Norman and the Saudis.

Jon has previously been vocal in saying that he wouldn’t join LIV, always quickly nipping speculation in the bud, but he and his camp had been very quiet this time before the announcement finally came.

Jon Rahm has become the world's highest-paid athlete by joining LIV Golf for $450m.

And who can blame him for going? I certainly don’t begrudge him or any of the top guys that move for the money. Who can say, hand on heart, that if $300m or $400m was on the table they could say no?

I’m all for loyalty, but what are you being loyal to? A Tour that wanted you to bang the drum in support, only to go behind your back and agree to a merger with the organization it was asking you to stand up and fight against. No discussion, just ‘please stay, please stay’ and then bang.

Yassir Al-Rumayyan and Jay Monahan announce the merger between PIF, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

Sometimes there’s no loyalty from the Tour to the players – I know how that feels – so you can’t blame the guys if they don’t show loyalty in return.

Yes, Jon’s made a lot of statements committing to the PGA Tour and distancing himself from LIV in the past, but a lot has changed and a lot of the guys who were standing on the front line are pissed off.

The history and heritage of the game mean a lot to Jon and the Majors are very important to him, but I know he wasn’t happy about the number of events the guys were having to play, and that was before the elevated events were introduced, which put even more expectation on the top players to tee it up.

He’s the Masters champion, so his Major status is secure for the coming years, and if more of the leading players join LIV, OWGR will have to take notice because otherwise, the ranking is at risk of becoming obsolete. And I think Ryder Cup Europe will inevitably change the rules to allow LIV players to be involved even if they’re not part of the DP World Tour because Jon’s one of the key players in the team as he proved in Rome.

Jon Rahm won three points from his four matches in the 2023 Ryder Cup.

USA were happy to allow Koepka to play in Rome because he’s one of their best players and increased their chances of winning so there’s no way that Luke Donald would want to head to Bethpage in two years without Jon in the team, whether he qualifies or has to be picked. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jon has wanted some guarantees about that as part of this process.

Of course, that’s a long way off, and by then we could all be living harmoniously again. The Tours may even have seen my merger solution and be working on it as we speak… perhaps I should’ve pitched it to them before publishing it in Today’s Golfer. I’ll watch with interest in case I need to chase up my cut!

I’ve seen crazy money being suggested for Jon’s move so no one can be surprised that his head has been turned.

He doesn’t need it – he’s said in the past that he has all the money he needs – but if a shit load of cash is put in front of you and means you can set up generation after generation of your family and friends then I challenge anyone not to take it.

And I’m sure there’s an element of this being last chance saloon to get that sort of money.

Jon Rahm has won over $50 million in prize money alone on the PGA Tour.

If the framework agreement gets done and dusted at the end of the year and the Tours finalize the merger, these huge signing-on fees will presumably disappear and all players will be free to move about and play where they like.

Jon could pocket hundreds of million and come January 1 be free to tee it up on the PGA Tour when he wants to anyway! I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not the only bigger name to join them before the year ends.

None of us know what’s around the corner. I took being a golfer for granted and then over the last two years my injury has meant I’ve faced the possibility that my career was over. Jon or any of the guys could suffer an injury tomorrow which means it’s all over – no more golf, no big-money opportunities. You have to do what’s right for you and the people who matter to you.

The PGA Tour went behind players’ backs to do the deal with the PIF so why shouldn’t the players spring a few surprises of their own?

And for all those suggesting this would be the biggest blow to the PGA Tour so far, let’s not forget that no one is forcing them to ban LIV players from playing in their events. All of this could still be avoided if everyone is just free to play where and when they choose (or qualify) to do so.

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About the Author

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston is a professional golfer who plays on the DP World Tour, host of Beef's Golf Club, and contributor to Today's Golfer.

Andrew Johnston – Professional Golfer and Podcaster

Andrew Johnston, better known as Beef, is a professional golfer on the DP World Tour who has also played on the PGA Tour and in three of the four men’s Majors.

The Englishman, who won the Real Club Valderrama Open de España in 2016, has his own YouTube channel and is the owner and co-host of the hit Beef’s Golf Club podcast alongside fellow Today’s Golfer contributor John Robins. He has also tried his hand in the commentary booth and in front of the cameras at both The Open and the Ryder Cup.

A huge fan favorite, Beef is a Cobra Puma player and is coached by Jamie Gough. Away from golf, he is a huge Arsenal FC fan and lives in Portugal with his wife Jodie and daughter Harley.

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