Rahm lauds McIlroy's stance against LIV Golf and discusses Garcia's legacy
Jon Rahm described Rory McIlroy taking a stand against the LIV Golf Invitational Series while still performing at the highest level as "remarkable" and discussed how joining the breakaway circuit may impact Sergio Garcia's legacy.
The world number one has been a vocal critic of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed LIV circuit, and called for the series' divisive chief executive Greg Norman to resign this week.
Speaking ahead of the tournament in Dubai, world number five Rahm hailed McIlroy's efforts to defend the PGA Tour this year.
"It's great to see somebody with his platform take a stand as he did, whether you agree with it or not, he's taken a stand on what he believes in and that's it - I think it's great," Rahm said.
"He's had a lot of input. He's been on the board of the PGA Tour and tried to make a change.
"To be honest, with how long those meetings are and how much as players we talk to each other, to play as good as he has is pretty remarkable.
"In this profession, we are all basically CEOs of our own little golf company, and now he has invested in so much more. Again, the role he's had in both [on and off the course] is quite incredible."
Rahm's compatriot Garcia became one of the most high-profile players to resign his PGA Tour membership while switching to LIV Golf this year.
The 2021 U.S. Open champion hopes the legacy of his fellow Spaniard is not tarnished by that decision.
"I hope not, it's very unprecedented, what we've been dealing with in the game of golf and it hasn't even been that long," Rahm added.
"It could have somewhat of an impact. I have a hard time believing a lot of those [LIV] players are going to have a positive impact on their legacy right now.
"We don't know what's going to happen, but if it does [have an impact on Garcia's legacy], I hope it's not a big one, let's say it that way.
"He's done a lot for the game of golf, so it would be sad to see that change.
"There's certainly going to be a before and after at some point, and there's definitely some division going on.
"It still shouldn't change what he's done in the game; what he's done in the Ryder Cup, European Tour, PGA Tour, shouldn't be affected by where he decides to play golf, at least in my mind."
From dead in the water to an important part of the future of golf all in 8 months. #LIVGolf has only just begun.— Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman) November 9, 2022
It’s time for the major forces in golf to make the good of the game we all love the priority. @LIVGolfInv will continue to do its part.
Meanwhile, LIV Golf has continued to push for the ability to award world rankings points, and while Rahm is not against that idea, he says the tour must meet the stated requirements.
"We need to stop giving LIV the publicity. They are not asking for it. That's the first thing I'm going to say," Rahm said.
"A lot of people are against them having World Ranking points. I'm not necessarily against it, but there should be adjustments.
"If your requirement to have World Ranking points is 72 holes and a cut, maybe you don't award them 100 per cent of the points, since they are not fulfilling all the requirements.
"I also believe it's probably a couple-year process, so they need to respect that as every other tour has.
"They do have some incredible players. To say that Dustin [Johnson] wasn't one of the best players this year would be a mistake. So, I think they could be awarded. I don't know if they necessarily deserve 100 per cent."