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Jon Rahm shares a 'pet peeve' about all of the money talk on PGA Tour broadcasts

August 25, 2023
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Jon Rahm watches his tee shot during second round of the Tour Championship.

Icon Sportswire

ATLANTA — Professional golf has never been about the money for Jon Rahm. Not even back in 2016, when the Spaniard made his professional debut at the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans event as a star graduate from Arizona State.

He finished tied for third, and one more birdie would have given him Special Temporary Membership. But he didn’t care about job security, financial security or anything else. Just winning.

“My first pro event I was flag hunting on the last few holes … I ended up earning [membership] a couple weeks after that, but I was going for the win,” Rahm said at East Lake Golf Club Friday at the Tour Championship after shooting a five-under-par 65 to sit at 12 under and four shots behind co-leaders Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa. “When I turned pro, I was already in a privileged situation because of what I had done as an amateur. So some brands took a chance on me and money wasn't an issue.”

Seven years later, he still hunts for victories, not pay checks. It’s why the 28-year-old sounded off on discussions of FedEx Cup bonus money on the TV broadcast. He feels it is constant and irritating.

“It's one of the things that frustrates me about watching this broadcast,” he said. “We're not thinking if we miss a putt how much it's going to cost us money-wise. No chance. None whatsoever. From first to second, you're making a ton of money. You're trying to finish as high as possible. You're trying to win a tournament. It's one of my pet peeves when they make this tournament all about money because I think it takes away from it.”

The money is extreme at the Tour Championship because, come Sunday night, it will pay the pros for their consistency this season. The FedEx Cup winner gets $18 million, second place takes $6.5 million, and third place receives $5 million. Last place, 30th, is $500,000 in FedEx Cup bonus.

Rahm has made a lot of money this year. Four PGA Tour victories, including the Masters, as well as two runners-up and a third, have contributed to $16.5 million in prize money. But he says he won’t be able to tell you at the sum of it all at year’s end.

“When you win a green jacket … I can tell you right now that any major champion this year might not remember how much money they made,” he said. “That's the beauty about this game, and I think that's how it should be. Obviously, I'm saying that being in an extremely privileged position, financially.”

Morikawa, who has earned nearly $25 million in 4½ years on tour, including $6 million this season, said he would trade money for victories and major championships, the latter of which he’s already won two.

“It's weird this year, with all the {$20 million] designated events, next year signature events, everyone makes it about the money. But I really don't care. I would play these tournaments because I want to play against the best guys in the world. I want to win. And whether you get a dollar out of it or 10 million dollars out of it, a win's a win.

“People don't understand how good it feels. That's what you dream of. That's what you desire to do. That's what you want to do. That's why you practice. Yeah, you just want the win.”

Maybe, but as the character Bobby Axelrod in the hit TV show “Billions” once said, “If you’re the best in the world at what you do, you deserve to get rich.”

Six stints at World No.1, 11 PGA Tour victories, two majors and eight DP World Tour titles certainly qualify Rahm as among the best in the world.

“If you want to be a great player, you're going to have to go for the win instead of thinking about your bank account,” he said.