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Garcia 'couldn't be happier' with Rahm joining LIV

AP PHOTO

Count Sergio Garcia among those thankful Jon Rahm signed with LIV Golf - even though they're on opposing teams.

Garcia, the captain of Fireballs GC, welcomed his friend and fellow Spaniard to LIV ahead of the debut of Rahm and his team, Legion XIII, at the season-opener this week at Mayakoba, Mexico.

"Anytime you can have a player the quality of Jon in your league, it's amazing," Garcia said.

"We're very thankful to have him here.

"It's a great addition, not only with him but with (teammate Tyrrell Hatton) and everyone that is new in the league. We couldn't be happier."

Rahm left the PGA Tour to join LIV in December on a deal reportedly in excess of $US300 million ($A456 million).

The reigning Masters champion is No.3 in the world rankings.

When Garcia's move to LIV precluded him from playing in the Ryder Cup in 2023, Rahm was vocal in his support for his countryman.

Having added a 13th team to accommodate Rahm, LIV will have fields of 54 players to match their 54 holes - 13 teams of four and two unaffiliated 'wild cards' in each event.

Garcia's team is the most Spanish-heavy, as he, Eugenio Chacarra and fellow youngster David Puig are joined by Mexican pro Abraham Ancer.

But before the league crosses the ocean to compete at Spain's Real Club Valderrama in July, it is opening its season in Mexico - where the Latin American-heavy Torque GC will be a fan favourite.

"It's all about growing the game, that's what we are doing here," said Mexico's Carlos Ortiz, who played for Fireballs last season before joining Torque.

"Mayakoba has been great in doing that, having the (PGA Tour) tournament before this and now continuing with LIV.

"We're just honoured to be part of that ... (and) growing golf in Latin America."

With LIV Golf expanding to 13 teams, the format and rules needed an update, too.

In LIV's first two seasons, each four-man team's best three scores counted for every round: starting in 2024, that will remain true for the first and second days, but for the final round all four team members' scores will count.

This year's 13 teams of four will be joined in each event by two wild cards, with Hudson Swafford and Englishman Laurie Canter filling that role in Mayakoba.

Adapting to the larger field size, the cut-offs for the individual standings have changed.

The top 24 spots remain the 'lock zone' while places 25-48 will be the 'open zone' and the 'drop zone' will feature those 49th and below.

The field for the season-ending team championship will remain at 12, with the team that finishes last failing to qualify.