PGA Tour star Jon Rahm indicators with Saudi-backed LIV

Jon Rahm of Spain celebrates making a putt for birdie on the 18th green during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, California.

Sean M. Haffey | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Golf superstar Jon Rahm officially signed on with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league Thursday in an industry-shocking departure from the PGA Tour. The announcement follows numerous reports that indicated Rahm was gearing up to sign off on the deal.

Rahm, who won the Masters in April and is ranked No. 3 in the world, told Fox New’s Brett Baier on Thursday, “The growth that LIV Golf has brought to the game is something with a ton of potential and something I’m really excited about.”

“I can’t comment on that, private business,” Rahm added in response to speculation regarding the reported price tag of the deal.

The move is the latest blockbuster development in the long and tumultuous saga of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. The two leagues face a Dec. 31 deadline to decide the fate of their proposed combination.

The golf world is rife with speculation that the deal with Rahm could be part of a strategy by LIV to pressure the PGA Tour into signing off on the merger.

When asked for comment, LIV Golf referred CNBC to the announcement made Thursday.

ESPN reported Thursday that the deal with Rahm could extend beyond three years and is worth more than $300 million. By comparison, former PGA golfer Phil Mickelson inked a deal with LIV in 2022 for $200 million. Rahm could also be getting an ownership stake in a new team on the league as LIV recruits additional PGA Tour players, ESPN added.

Last month, PGA announced that its league members would get the opportunity to take an ownership stake in the new company formed after the completion of the PGA-LIV Golf merger.

LIV has repeatedly poached PGA players, creating a particular point of contention for other golfers in the sport. Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 2 player, said in July that he would retire if LIV Golf was “the last place to play golf on earth.”

The PGA Tour declined to comment on news of a deal with Rahm. An agency that has represented Rahm also declined to comment. Another firm representing Rahm didn’t immediately respond to a request.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Rahm was working on a deal with LIV.

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