Jon Rahm denies Phil Mickelson rumour after bolting to LIV Golf

Jon Rahm has denied Phil Mickelson had prior knowledge the Spaniard was planning to bolt from the PGA Tour to the lucrative LIV Golf League.

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 8 Dec 2023
Jon Rahm denies Phil Mickelson rumour after bolting to LIV Golf

After weeks of speculation, Jon Rahm's move to LIV Golf has been made official. 

Rahm, 29, was unveiled as a rival league player on 7 December for a deal said to be worth in the region of £450m. 

The Spaniard had been having conversations with the Saudi-backed circuit for some time. 

Before the Ryder Cup, English tour pro Eddie Pepperell claimed he had heard Rahm had quoted LIV a figure 'so prohibitively large' that it was rejected. 

But, as they say, money talks and Rahm's number was finally met after discussions that only involved a small number of his inner circle. 

Rahm said his team had 'sleepless nights' as they worked through the finer details before putting pen to paper. 

One of the people reportedly in the know about Rahm's seismic decision was Phil Mickelson

The six-time major champion was said, per the FirePit Collective author and journalist Alan Shipnuck, to have been telling every man and his dog the Rahm deal was imminent. 

"This isn't true and I don't know anything," Mickelson wrote on social media as rumours continued to swirl. 

"I don't want to know anything and I haven't said anything. Alan is the worst liar and a pathetic human."

Shipnuck stuck by his report and hit back at Mickelson by posting the receipts he claims prove he was never lying about Lefty's infamous remarks about his dealings with the Saudis. 

Rahm told reporters in a short Q&A before being announced as a LIV player that Mickelson was none the wiser. 

Asked if Mickelson played a role in his move, he declared:

"None. No role at all. All those players on LIV are finding out shortly after we're doing this Q&A. No role at all. He's somebody I lean on to for advice as I've always done but not somebody I've talked to. I know he wishes I could've talked to him but it's not something I could've done."

Rahm's decision to bolt from the PGA Tour has sent shockwaves throughout the sport. 

What this means for the Tour's framework agreement with LIV's financiers is unclear. 

Some commentators suggest this will push the deal over the line and is a masterstroke by Rahm to have his cake and eat it. 

Others have stated it is a declaration of war and a signal the men's game will continued to be divided. 

Rahm's decision also prompted Rory McIlroy to make a major U-turn on LIV players participating at the Ryder Cup. 

Rahm, who insisted his decision to join LIV wasn't a personal shot at McIlroy or Tiger Woods, played a key role as Team Europe wrestled back the Cup from the U.S. in September. 

McIlroy had previously stated European LIV players should not be involved at the Ryder Cup. 

But now he has changed his tune and insists Rahm will be at Bethpage Black in two years' time. Read about that here

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