Jon Rahm’s Ryder Cup future has been thrown into doubt with speculation intensifying that he will imminently sign a record £450 million deal with LIV and join alongside another former world No 1 and one of Europe’s promising young players.
Multiple sources have told Telegraph Sport that they “expect” Rahm, the world No 3, to sign imminently and take control of his own team, although there is nothing concrete and LIV insiders insist that they remain in the dark concerning a capture which could maybe be considered as the breakaway’s most notable to date.
Another source informed Telegraph Sport that the Rahm negotiations are being led by the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund which owns Newcastle United, and this is the reason for the extreme secrecy within LIV.
As an example of the confusion one former Ryder Cup player on LIV told Telegraph Sport: “I think this will happen, and that Jason Day and Adrian Meronk” will also join, while another said, “I honestly know nothing and would just take everything as rumour if I were you”.
A well-placed character in the DP World Tour believes the Rahm announcement “could happen as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday) – if it happens”.
Meanwhile, Rahm’s camp continues not to answer queries, which inevitably only thrusts suspicions to new heights.
Furthermore, the absence of Rahm’s name was conspicuous at Tuesday’s launch for the Amex PGA Tour event in January. As defending champion, Tour custom dictates that Rahm will play at La Quinta – unless, of course, he had elected to play elsewhere.
The grapevine is beyond ripe with conjecture, perhaps greater than at any time since the LIV saga began two years ago. There are so many facets to be considered.
Connections between the timing of the Rahm rumours with the fact that PGA Tour chief executive Jay Monahan is due to meet next week with Yasir Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, who is also chairman of Newcastle United, are difficult to escape.
This is being viewed as one of the definitive moments in the ongoing merger talks after the “framework agreement” that shocked the game in June. Since then, US investors have lined up to link up with the Tour, with whispers that the Saudis could even be locked out.
Rahm, who won this year’s Masters, played a leading role in Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph in Rome this year but joining LIV would put his future on Luke Donald’s team in doubt with fellow Europeans Sergio García, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter being ineligible after joining the the Saudi breakaway league.
Would Rahm’s defection be the PIF’s warning?
“If Yasir goes in there with Rahm in his back pocket, he can look the PGA Tour in the eye and say ‘unless there is a merger then we will keep signing the big names’,” an insider said. “The Tour would be bullied into a corner.”