"Former teammate didn't even look at my face"

Jon Rahm commented on his return to Augusta that a former PGA Tour colleague "didn't even look at me" after his defection to the LIV Golf... and the 2023 champion opened up about the chilly reception at Augusta National.

by Andrea Gussoni
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"Former teammate didn't even look at my face"
© Getty Images Sport - Quinn Harris / Stringer

Jon Rahm commented on his return to Augusta that a former PGA Tour colleague "didn't even look at me" after his defection to the LIV Golf... and the 2023 champion opened up about the chilly reception at Augusta National.

Jon Rahm, results

Rahm explained that people he was courteous to did not look him in the eye at Augusta.

But he said it was to be expected after he left the PGA Tour for the LIV Golf this winter. The 2023 champion defected to LIV Golf in December and played at Augusta National for the first time since then this week. He had a mixed reception from his former circuit colleagues, including at least one who did not even recognize him.

When asked if he had a warm reception, Rahm said, "Some did. I expected it. And then there was someone else who I expected to be a little tougher... and one of them hugged me." "If someone changes their opinion about me, it's more their problem than mine.

I'm not worried. I knew it was going to happen. I didn't know who," he added. Sergio García once recounted encountering some hostility upon his return, and when asked if Jon had noticed any of that, he replied: "Yes, there are some...

Among all the relationships I've had, it's what I expected; my friends are still my friends... but, you know, things happen. It doesn't affect me or make me overthink. In Arizona, we have several pros, and there were several I had already seen...

Let's say it was pretty much what I expected," he concluded. The emergence of the Premier Golf League in 2019 marked the beginning of a potential rivalry with the PGA Tour. This new league garnered attention with its ambitious plans to challenge the established order in professional golf.

In response, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan hinted that players opting for the new league might face exclusion from PGA Tour events. This stance reflected the PGA Tour's determination to maintain its position as the premier golf tour.

Amidst these developments, the PGA European Tour and the PGA Tour formed a "strategic alliance" in 2020. This collaboration aimed to explore joint commercial opportunities, coordinate scheduling, and enhance prize funds for their respective memberships.

However, the landscape of professional golf continued to evolve rapidly. The Premier Golf League engaged in discussions with Saudi investors for potential financial backing. Despite these talks, Golf Saudi, a division of the Public Investment Fund, pursued its own vision for a global professional league.

This initiative, often referred to as the "Super Golf League," took shape with the establishment of LIV Golf Investments in October 2021. Greg Norman, a former professional golfer, assumed the role of CEO within this entity.

Comparable to the defunct European Super League in football, LIV Golf has been portrayed as a disruptive force within the golfing world. Its entry into the Official World Golf Ranking process in July 2022 signified a significant step towards formal recognition within the sport.

However, the road to approval and the allocation of OWGR points typically spans one to two years. In October 2022, LIV Golf forged a "strategic alliance" with the MENA Tour, aiming to confer ranking points on LIV Golf events immediately.

Nevertheless, logistical adjustments within the MENA Tour postponed the attribution of points for events in 2022, pending further review and assessment of the partnership's implications.

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