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LIV Golf signs Tyrrell Hatton to join Jon Rahm's Legion XIII team ahead of season-opening event

January 30, 2024
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Ross Kinnaird

LIV Golf has officially signed Tyrrell Hatton ahead of its 2024 season-opening event after weeks of speculation surrounding the English golfer.

Hatton joins Jon Rahm among notable signings by the Saudi-backed tour heading into its third year of existence with this week's LIV Golf Mayakoba tournament. The two will be compete on a newly created LIV Golf League team—Legion XIII. The moves come in the shadow of discussions between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF, LIV Golf's financial backer, on a proposed business agreement to create a new for-profit venture tentatively labeled PGA Tour Enterprises. The PGA Tour is also in advanced negotiations with Strategic Sports Group for private equity investment with the tour. SGS is a collective of several investors and firms, fronted by the Fenway Sports Group.

Rahm and Hatton are the first PGA Tour players to jump to LIV Golf in nearly a year.

Despite his previous denials Hatton has long been attached with LIV Golf since the league’s launch. The Englishman had previously played in the Saudi International (funded by LIV’s financial backer, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund). Hatton had been coy when asked about his rumored discussions with LIV two weeks ago in Dubai.

"As of right now, yeah," he replied when asked if he was staying, latter adding, “I’d say there’s several people who have had conversations [with LIV]. I think that’s part and parcel of golf at the moment but I’m quite happy playing the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. There’s a lot of people that have [spoken to LIV] and I don’t think there is anything to shy away from.”

Hatton, 32, is the 16th ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking. He has one career win on the PGA Tour and six on the DP World Tour, although the last win came three years ago. Hatton has played in the last three Ryder Cups for the European team, winning six points in 11 matches.

Joining Rahm and Hatton on Legion XIII is Caleb Surratt, a 20-year-old American who won the SEC Championship individual title as a freshman last year and will be making his pro debut this week in Mexico. The fourth member of Legion XIII is Kieran Vincent, who earned a spot by his performane at LIV's Promotions Event late in 2023.

Although not announced Tuesday, it's expected Adrian Meronk also will join LIV this week. Meronk, 30, has been one of Europe’s top performers over the past 18 months. Meronk has won four times in that span on the DP World Tour and was given 2023 DPWT Player of the Year honors earlier this month. Meronk earned his PGA Tour card thanks to the strategic partnership between the American and European leagues, and was supposed to make his PGA Tour debut at the Farmers Insurance Open last week. However, Meronk withdrew prior to the tournament, citing illness. He is ranked No. 39 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Outside obstacles remain for the PGA Tour-PIF partnership. The U.S. Senate opened an investigation into the pending deal, citing that the alliance “raises concerns about the Saudi government’s role in influencing this effort and the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution.” The deal could be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which analyzes mergers regarding potential threats to the nation’s security. The tour continues to be under an antitrust probe by the U.S. Department of Justice, and PIF’s investment into the tour is expected to fall under this investigation.