DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 19: Jon Rahm of Spain tees off on the 14th hole during Day Four of the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 19, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
'Massive coup': Top golfer who once criticized LIV golf joins for $300M
02:01 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Jon Rahm, currently ranked No. 3 in the world and the reigning Masters champion, is poised to leave the PGA Tour for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

“I am proud to join LIV Golf and be part of something new that is bringing growth to the sport,” Rahm said in a statement on Thursday. “I have no doubt that this is a great opportunity for me and my family and am very excited for the future.”

Rahm will make his debut with LIV Golf next season, with the first tournament teeing off February 2-4, 2024, at LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico. As part of the three-year, $300 million deal, Rahm will have an ownership stake in a new LIV Golf team, according to ESPN, citing unnamed sources.

“It’s not an easy decision because I’ve had a really successful career and I’ve been really happy,” Rahm said in an interview with Fox News.

“But there’s a lot of things that LIV Golf has to offer that were very, very enticing, starting with team golf. Being part of a team is something that’s been really big for me throughout my career.

“I was part of the Spanish national team from the age of 14 until I graduated college. I was part of the Arizona State golf team. As a pro, you don’t have that chance very often. … It’s something that is very fun to play for something more than just yourself.

“And simply, the growth that LIV Golf has brought to the game of golf. It’s something fresh. It’s something new. It’s something with a ton of potential and opportunity. It’s something I’m really excited about.”

In his career, Rahm has tallied 20 wins, including the 2023 Masters, 2021 US Open and the DP World Tour Championship a total of three times in 2017, 2019 and 2022.

“It was a great offer. The money is great. Obviously, it’s wonderful,” Rahm said on the financial aspect of the deal.

“But what I said before is true: I do not play golf for the money. I play golf for the love of the game and for the love of golf. But as a husband, as a father and as a family man, I have a duty to my family to give them the best opportunities and the most amount of resources possible.”

Rahm’s move to the Saudi-backed professional golf tour comes during a pivotal month for both the PGA Tour and LIV. The two sides are working to finalize by December 31 the proposed framework for joining forces. The announcement for the proposed partnership was announced in June.