There are two conclusions a person could come to after Jon Rahm’s decision to sign with LIV. And no matter what, this is a threat to the PGA Tour. There’s no other way to look at it.
It might be a negotiating tactic designed to move the Tour’s thinking on some sticking point in the supposed PGA Tour/ PIF agreement, showing what the PGA Tour could expect from LIV in the future if it doesn’t agree.
If nobody is in agreement on anything, or if the Saudi’s aren’t getting what they want, maybe this is them throwing down a gauntlet to say: take that PGA Tour. You better do what we want. We’re going to do more of this.
It could be that Congress has objected to PIF being a partner, and that’s made the Saudis mad. Maybe this is the way they are showing it. Rahm may be a pawn in the game. His silence on the matter for an entire day before announcing that he was going with LIV might as well have been an admission that he signed with them.
"Regardless, this Rahm thing sure doesn’t sound like something one party does to the other in the middle of negotiations that are supposedly going well."
Nobody blames Jon Rahm for taking the money…
But it’s not going to make him any friends.
As John Maginnis said recently on PGA Tour radio, for $300 or 400 million he’d do stuff naked. Charles Barkley previously said on one of the golf telecasts he was a part of, for that kind of money, he’d kill a relative.
Regardless, this Rahm thing sure doesn’t sound like something one party does to the other in the middle of negotiations that are supposedly going well.
It’s not what somebody does if they are about to agree to agree.
It’s what somebody does when they have hit an impasse and are getting ready to take their marbles and go home. In a huff. A BIG huff. (Use your own expletives here).
This is the Saudis saying we are so powerful and have so much money that you can’t overcome us. We’re coming after your players, get used to it.
So, what will the reaction from the PGA Tour be?
This whole situation might annoy the PGA Tour players and the Player Advisory Council enough to say, forget them. Let’s do business with one or more of the sports marketing groups that came to us and want to actually do business the right way.
Anybody who thinks that threats are the way to get things done in the US, doesn’t understand the US. If it’s an effort to destroy the PGA Tour, Congress might have a few things to say about Saudi actions toward a US company. It might get heated on a whole different level.
The Saudis might find themselves prohibited from holding their events in the U.S.
If their events are banned, it might make them hot stuff in some locations around the world, like Russia. And it might solve the whole problem for everybody else. The upshot would be that no stand-up company wants to do business with a group that’s been banned in the US.
So, whatever the Rahm signing really means, one thing is certain: it doesn’t look like the discussions between the PGA Tour and the PIF are hunky-dory, fine and dandy, or otherwise going well.
And what PIF’s head, Yasir Al-Rumayyan probably doesn’t know is that picking off player after player doesn’t get him any closer to that Augusta National membership he supposedly covets. If anything, it gets him farther from it.