GolfDifferent Strokes

Rumours of Rahm’s switch to LIV Golf continue to linger

Defection of the great Spanish golfer would prove a major blow to the PGA Tour

Rumours of Jon Rahm’s potential move to LIV Golf will not go away, and the Spanish golfer has done nothing to dispel those that have been lingering recently.

Such a move could be a watershed moment for professional golf in this era of division spurred by LIV. As a generational talent, it could shift the balance of world golf, and put further strain on the PGA Tour’s claims to have most of the best players in the world.

In contrast with Jordan Spieth, who when he was linked to LIV last year took to social media immediately to dismiss rumours, Rahm’s silence has been deafening in the past few weeks.

Spieth said Rahm was one of the tour’s “biggest assets” at the recent Hero World Challenge.


“It would be really not very good for us because we want to play against the best players in the world and that’s what Jon is.”

An incredible $300 million contract has been suggested, and while he has made strong statements of fealty to the PGA Tour before, since turning professional he has been linked with Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, both LIV players.

With Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who governs the Saudi Public Investment Fund, set to meet with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on Friday, if the rumours are true a Rahm announcement would likely come this week before the meeting. With a December 31st deadline looming to finalise the infamous merger between the tours, Rahm could be used as an important bargaining chip for the Saudi PIF.

Leona Maguire to take part in mixed event

Leona Maguire will take part in an innovative new event this week on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tours called the Grant Thornton Invitational, the first mixed-team co-sanctioned event on the tours since 1999. Maguire is the only Irish participant and she will play alongside former US Open champion Lucas Glover at Tiburon Golf Club.

Some of the very best of the LPGA will be present – Lilia Vu, Nelly Korda, Rose Zhang and others – while there is a smattering of top PGA Tour pros.

Watch out for teams like Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson, an all-English team of Charley Hull and Justin Rose, and all-Swedish team Madelene Sagstrom and Ludvig Aberg, where Aberg’s caddie’s fiancee happens to be Sagstrom’s caddie.

The 16 mixed teams will play three distinct formats including scramble, foursomes and modified fourball – where the players switch balls after their drive.

“This is an important step forward for golf, women’s golf and the LPGA,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan.

It is hard to argue with that. It is a very welcome inclusion to golf’s schedule, and will hopefully lead to more collaborations between men’s and women’s golf.

Word of Mouth

“The people who are upset about this decision shouldn’t be mad at the governing bodies, they should be mad at elite pros and club/ball manufacturers because they didn’t want bifurcation. Bifurcation was the logical answer for everyone but, yet again in this game, money talks.” – Rory McIlroy said he does not understand the anger at the news that golf’s governing bodies are set to roll the golf ball’s distance back for all golfers, instead of just professional players.

By the Numbers

430 — The number of places that Tiger Woods jumped in the Official World Golf Rankings for finishing 18th in the 20-man field in the Hero World Challenge event he hosts.

On this day . . . December 5th, 2010

To cap off an unforgettable year, Graeme McDowell took on Tiger Woods at his own tournament – and won. The circumstances of the victory at the Chevron World Challenge were particularly pleasing as McDowell – who had won the US Open at Pebble Beach and holed the winning putt at the Ryder Cup in 2010 – as he holed two clutch putts to snatch the win from Woods, who was looking for his first victory since the scandal that had caused him to take a break from the game.

Tied for the lead playing the 18th hole at Sherwood Country Club in California, Woods stuffed an 8-iron inside three feet for a sure birdie. Caddie Steve Williams had his bib off ready to wrap it up, only for McDowell to pour in a birdie putt from 25 feet to bring the tournament to the playoff. On the sudden death playoff hole, McDowell repeated the feat from a similar distance to win.

“It is the stuff of dreams – 2010 has been the stuff of dreams,” McDowell said. He would never have a better year.

X-Twitter Twaddle

“Now let’s change the driver head and the number of clubs in the bag. Remember the ball/driver and number of clubs have all been changed before and the game thrived.” – Pádraig Harrington considers a different approach to the golf distance debate.

“This distance issue has been a ball and driver combination. It’s not just the ball. The driver heads got too big and they developed a ball to maximise this and vice versa. Who knows, we might get back to a place where hitting the driver out of the middle is rewarded again.” – Lee Westwood is in agreement with Harrington that the debate is more nuanced than just the golf ball.

“Obviously disappointed to miss another cut here in Australia, BUT, every cloud and all that ... I now get to go and see Deacon Blue tomorrow night here in Sydney, get right on it and have a dance! So have at it. 🥂 Have a good weekend everyone 🕺🏼” – Eddie Pepperell not letting a missed cut ruin his weekend in Australia.

Know the Rules

Q: A and B are partners in a foursome. Player A drives and there is doubt as to whether the ball is out of bounds or not. If the players decide to play a provisional ball, who must play it?

A: Player B must play the provisional ball as it is alternating shots once a hole has begun.

In the Bag

Ashleigh Buhai – Australian Open

Driver – Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (9 degrees)

Fairway woods – Srixon ZX (3-wood, 15 degrees & 5-wood 18 degrees), Ping G425 (7-wood, 20.5 degrees)

Hybrid – Srixon Z H85 (20.5 degrees)

Irons – Srixon ZX5 (6-iron) and Srixon ZX7 (7-iron to Pitching Wedge)

Wedges – Cleveland RTX ZipCore (50 degrees, 54 degrees & 60 degrees)

Putter – Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Two

Ball – Srixon Z-Star