Home Estate Planning Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton add European spice to 2024 LIV Golf League

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton add European spice to 2024 LIV Golf League

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Dialogue over a merger of interests between LIV Golf, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour continues, but in the meantime the arms race between the organisations shows no sign of slowing down. 

Since the conclusion of its first season as a fully-fledged league, LIV Golf has considerably strengthened its hand – and its player pool – by taking Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton from the PGA Tour, as well as the European circuit’s player of the year Adrian Meronk.

The PGA Tour, meanwhile, has struck a deal for $3bn of investment from a group of seasoned US sports investors, in an apparent show that it is not relying on a possible injection from LIV’s backers, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

If the announcement last summer that the three main tours had ceased litigation and begun work to join forces hinted at a resolution to more than a year of violent flux, the months that have followed have provided nothing concrete.

A deadline for an agreement was extended to April and PGA Tour loyalist Rory McIlroy has softened his stance on those who switched sides, but as LIV Golf prepares to tee off for its second season proper in Mexico this week uncertainty still reigns.

What is for sure is that LIV Golf has a significantly stronger field this year, with two-time major winner Rahm’s signature – in a deal reported to be worth as much as £450m – a huge coup for the challenger circuit.

The Spaniard announced his team this week ahead of the opening tournament at Mayakoba, confirming that he had persuaded friend and fellow hot-head Hatton to join his outfit Legion XIII, named after a famed Roman army unit.

“We’ve come a long way in a short period of time and are extremely proud of the team and brand we are building,” said Rahm, who, like fellow LIV captains including Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson, has equity in his team. 

“As we were developing the team’s brand it became clear that I wanted to fight alongside a group of guys who aligned perfectly with what the team stands for. Tyrrell is a fierce competitor, proven champion, and of course my Ryder Cup teammate.”

To Rahm and Hatton LIV Golf has added Meronk, the Polish rising star who narrowly missed out on a place alongside his fellow Europeans at the Ryder Cup last year but finished fourth in the DP World Tour’s order of merit. 

The result is a 48-man roster featuring 14 Major winners, the same tally as in the 80-strong field at this week’s PGA Tour event, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and significantly more interest for fans on this side of the Atlantic. 

Hatton has joined Rahm’s team, Legion VIII, in LIV Golf

Where LIV Golf’s previous European signings, such as Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey have been past their peak, Rahm, Hatton and Meronk are slap bang in their prime. 

Their presence provides a different narrative to that of the first two years of LIV Golf – the invitational first season and the debut league campaign – in which the top prizes were mostly contested by Americans plus the odd Australian or South African.

A refreshed schedule with only six confirmed US-based tournaments, compared with eight last year, and a new English venue in Staffordshire’s JCB Golf and Country Club, also promises to make things more interesting.

This week’s off-course developments show the machinations in men’s golf continue unabated, despite the ongoing peace talks. On the fairways and greens, the competition is hotting up in just about every respect.

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