Rahm’s plan to build LIV ‘trust’

Jon Rahm proposes LIV expands to 72-hole events. Picture: Peter Parks / AFP
Jon Rahm proposes LIV expands to 72-hole events. Picture: Peter Parks / AFP

Major champion Jon Rahm says his call for LIV to expand to 72-hole events could bring more “trust” in the fledgling tour, while chief executive Greg Norman declared officials were “very open-minded” about the idea.

One of the key reasons LIV events were denied Official World Rankings points was because tournaments were only played over 54 holes and Rahm, the two-time major champion who signed a nine-figure contract to join this season, raised the idea in the lead-in to last week’s Masters.

Speaking in Adelaide on Wednesday, ahead of his first tournament in Australia since the 2016 World Cup in Melbourne, Rahm outlined why he thought the shift could enhance LIV’s status and the overall product.

“I think there’s a level of comfort when I say that because it’s a little bit more of what we’re used to seeing in golf,” Rahm, still the world No.4, said.

“I came to this realisation, and I think it could help a lot of fans’ trust in LIV a little bit more because that’s a lot of the complaints that I see from a lot of people. But I made the analogy a little bit ago of why I think we can end up with a great product.

“In football, European football, you have the Premier League, you have the Spanish League, you have the German League, you have Serie A, you have the Champions League, the Euro Cup, many other things. The one thing I realised is they all play under the same set of rules.

“While we play under most set of rules, the one key difference is 72 holes.

“But at the end of the day, LIV is a business. If it doesn’t fit the product, it doesn’t fit the product. I’m just a player.”

LIV boss Norman has spruiked his tour as a golfing revolution designed to do things differently, with smaller fields, no cuts, music on course and massive prizemoney the standouts.

While open to the idea of moving to traditional 72-hole events, if only to get one extra day of big crowds in Adelaide, he said the shorter tournaments put a premium on better golf from players from the very first hole.

“I think from LIV’s perspective, we’re very open-minded about it, but you’ve got to understand there’s economic impact about putting television on for 72 holes.” Norman said.

“When you can tee up on Friday, it’s a sprint to the end. There’s no warm-up time period to get you – I’m talking about from a player’s perspective now. Sometimes you can have an average first round and then you come back and shoot a 64 and get yourself back into it, now you’re into the weekend.

“If you really don’t play well on Friday here, you have a hard time because the quality of play here is so high. It is intense pressure on it straight away because you have to perform immediately right off the bat.

LIV Golf Invitational - Miami - Day Three
LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman says 72-hole events have been discussed. Picture: Megan Briggs/Getty Images/AFP

“It’s a great conversation to have. We will continue to have that conversation going forward.

“There are things that we sit back and look at to see what is the most optimal solution to make this a better and better and better event and 72 holes is discussed.”

While he advocated for the tweak, Rahm also conceded that when it came to a Sunday showdown, it “makes no difference” if the tournament was over three days or four.

“If you come watch an event, you forget by Sunday that you’ve only played three rounds. It makes no difference. You’re competing to win. You win or you don’t win,” he said.

“By the end of the day, if I told you, ‘Oh, it was 54 holes’, you really don’t think about it because you’re just immersed in the competition, and the competition is the same.”