Ryder Cup champion Tyrrell Hatton has switched from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf League and will make his debut at Jon Rahm’s Legion XIII in Mexico on Friday; All players agree it’s great to have Rory McIlroy’s support on their journey as golf continues to “evolve”
22:04, UK, Wednesday 31 January 2024
Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton have admitted it is “great to have the support” of Ryder Cup teammate Rory McIlroy as they begin their first season in the LIV Golf League.
McIlroy said before the new season he had “been very judgmental” in his views on the players switching to the Saudi-run circuit, having frequently spoken out in support of the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour when it was launched in 2022.
Rahm and Hatton have been banned from the PGA Tour by switching to LIV Golf, joining stars like Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.
McIlroy now believes that no player should be “penalized” if he returns to any other Tour, a lower profile than he originally adopted.
Both Hatton and Rahm have said they would like to continue playing on multiple Tours including the Ryder Cup if possible in the future and that it is “important” that someone of McIlroy’s stature acknowledges that golf is changing.
“I haven’t talked to him much lately. But he might have a change of heart, like maybe some of the things he said in the past,” Rahm said.
“I think he’s realizing that the landscape of golf is changing and at some point you have to change.
“So I think maybe they’re seeing that, and everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it’s great to have the support of a player of Rory’s caliber, especially the Ryder Cup words he said early on. I think these are important words for change to be said.”
“Well, I’ve spoken to Rory quite a bit in the last week and in December,” added Hatton.
“It’s like what he told me. It’s not surprising to hear him say that in the media.
“Ultimately, I want to be able to play events on the next two tours. But we’ll see how it all goes.”
Although the LIV handicap is now supported by McIlroy, it is not shared by the rest of the PGA Tour, with Jordan Speith revealing that there is a “mixed” feeling among the players.
“I think, I’ve asked a lot of players, I’ve talked to a lot of players over the last couple of months,” Speith said.
“That’s Rory’s opinion. I can name other guys who have the same opinion, I can name guys who have very different opinions.
“So it’s a mixed bag of how the players feel about it, that’s what I think.”
Rahm: Hiding the mystery around LIV’s move was ‘difficult’
Rahm also admitted that it was a “difficult process” when he completed the move to the LIV Golf League because he had to be involved in “deep water” in the negotiations but his performance in the diversion was “as expected”.
“Well, the weeks leading up to the announcement were not easy. I had to do a lot of weighing, especially getting enough information to make an informed decision,” he said.
“Even during the negotiations, it was very deep water compared to what I was used to.
“I had to be more involved than I thought I should be. But when the announcement was made, I think everything became easier.
Keeping it a secret and not talking to anyone about it was difficult. Again, when it became public, what I did was what I expected.
“Those are close friends who may or may not have had an opinion, and obviously there are some people who will disagree with every decision we make in life.
“Very close to what I expected, but it was nice to have some time after my first tournament in LIV Golf to prepare and get back to work.”
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