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Rory McIlroy says Ryder Cup rules need to change in wake of Jon Rahm’s jump to LIV Golf

December 08, 2023
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Jamie Squire

We’re in the early stages of understanding the fallout from Jon Rahm’s seismic decision to join LIV Golf. What it means for the nascent golf league and his former home, the PGA Tour—and even more importantly, the negotiations between the two parties—are questions that will be answered shortly and will largely determine the fate of pro golf moving forward.

Suffice it to say, Rahm’s Thursday announcement changes the calculus on many, many things, some big and some small. That became evident within hours of Rahm’s appearance in his LIV bomber jacket on Fox News.

In an interview with SkySports, Rory McIlroy, who just a few weeks earlier confidently predicted Rahm was going to stay with the PGA Tour, explained he felt no ill will toward Rahm for leaving: “I’m going to miss competing against him week in and week out. He has got so much talent, he’s so tenacious and he’s a great teammate in the Ryder Cup. The thing that I’ve realized is that you can’t judge someone for making a decision that they feel is the best thing for them.’’

McIlroy’s reference to the Ryder Cup became even more notable when addressing whether Rahm’s defection to LIV would impact his ability to play for Europe in the future. Most LIV golfers from the continent dropped their DP World Tour membership, and thus were ineligible to compete at Marco Simone in September. At the time, McIlroy noted that the logistics made sense and that LIV players had to understand the possibility of being shut out of the team, going so far as to say: “They’re going to miss being here [Rome] more than we’re missing them.”

But with Rahm’s decision, McIlroy took a new posture. “Jon is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so, because of this decision, the European Tour (DP World Tour) are going to have to rewrite the rules for the Ryder Cup eligibility,’’ McIlroy told Sky. “There’s absolutely no question about that … I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.”

The about face from McIlroy on the issue was something that was noted by commenters on social media.

To which, McIlroy owned up to his changed viewpoint.

Indeed, Rahm’s jump to LIV is going to change a lot of people’s thinking about a lot of things.