Rahm fears for Ryder Cup future after LIV-PGA rift

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Brookline (United States) (AFP) – Defending US Open champion Jon Rahm says the rift between the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf has him fearful for the future of the Ryder Cup.

The 27-year-old Spaniard, who won the US Open title last year at Torrey Pines, trained on Tuesday with Phil Mickelson and Kevin Na, two players to move to LIV Golf.

World number two Rahm, who won the Mexican Open last month, said he had no interest in playing in the LIV series, disliking its shotgun starts and format of 54 holes.

But Rahm fears players who make the switch, including fellow countryman Sergio Garcia, will not be allowed to play in the Ryder Cup.

“The one thing that keeps coming back to me in all of this and what can happen is that I hope the Ryder Cup doesn’t suffer,” Rahm said.

“I think the Ryder Cup is the biggest attraction in golf for attracting new people.”

Rahm joined Garcia for Europe’s 2018 triumph in France and last year’s defeat at Whistling Straits.

But LIV Golf’s lineup includes American 2021 Ryder Cup stars Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, as well as former Cup heroes Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson and Europeans Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

“I hope we don’t lose the essence and look of the Ryder Cup,” Rahm said. “That’s one of my biggest concerns, to be honest.

“It’s an event that we all play for free, and it’s one of our favorite weeks, win or lose. I think that says a lot about the game and where I’d like it to be.

“Are they going to be able to play in the Ryder Cup or not, the players who went there? In my mind, Sergio, even if he doesn’t go over 90, it’s an obvious choice. So what will he happen ?”

That said, Rahm never spoke with Garcia about his choice.

“It’s none of my business,” Rahm said. “He’s given golf, the European Tour and the PGA Tour, 20 to 25 years of his life. If his decision is to go play and play fewer events and enjoy it, that’s his decision. It’s not for me to judge.”

‘Good reason’

Rahm can see both sides of the growing rift.

“The PGA Tour has done an incredible job of giving us the best platform for us to perform,” Rahm said.

“I see the appeal that others see towards LIV Golf. I see some of the, I’m going to put it delicately, points or arguments that they can make as to why they prefer it.

“I want to play against the best in the world in a format that has been around for hundreds of years.

“I’ve always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA Tour has that. My heart is with the PGA Tour.”

Rahm says money is less important than competing against the best in the world.

“I could retire now with what I earned and live a very happy life,” Rahm said. “I play for the love of the game and I want to play against the best in the world.”

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