Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Jon Rahm officially has assembled his squad. LIV Golf’s biggest offseason acquisition will lead a new 13th team dubbed Legion XIII in the 54-hole league, and he will be joined by at least one familiar face. Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, one of LIV Golf’s newest signees, will join his Ryder Cup teammate as Caleb Surratt and Kieran Vincent round out the team. LIV Golf’s third season gets underway later this week at LIV Golf Mayakoba.

“We’ve come a long way in a short period of time and are extremely proud of the team and brand we are building,” said Rahm. “As we were developing the team’s brand it became clear that I wanted to fight alongside a group of guys who aligned perfectly with what the team stands for. Tyrrell is a fierce competitor, proven champion, and of course my Ryder Cup teammate. Caleb is one of the brightest next gen stars of the game. And Kieran is a steady, talented ball striker who earned his promotion to LIV and is elevating his game every day.”

The world No. 3 made waves this offseason when he left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Numerous big names had been floated in connection to joining Rahm’s team, but the Spaniard was unable to recruit a full foursome from the PGA Tour. Just days before the start of its third season, LIV Golf signed Hatton to a deal in the neighborhood of $65 million, according to The Telegraph. The world No. 16 was still listed in the field for the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am up until Tuesday.

Hatton’s move followed reports of DP World Tour Player of the Year Adrian Meronk also signing with LIV Golf. As of now, Rahm, Hatton and Meronk have maintained their membership with the DP World Tour, but if current punishments persist, they will be fined each time they participate in a LIV event. As of now, membership on the European circuit is a requirement for Ryder Cup eligibility.

Rahm will now look to follow up what was yet another fantastic year on the golf course. Winning three times on the PGA Tour before the calendar flipped to the spring months, the Spaniard went onto capture his second major championship at the Masters. He also finished runner-up at The Open and played a key role on the victorious European Ryder Cup team. 

Despite not collecting a trophy in three years, Hatton is amid some of the best golf of his career. The 32-year-old clocked 16 top-20 finishes in 26 worldwide starts in 2023 with six of those doubling as top-five performances. He finished on the podium at the Wells Fargo Championship and Canadian Open and connected on runner-up efforts at the Players Championship and the BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour.

Surratt joins a growing list of young up-and-coming players in LIV Golf. One of the top amateurs in the world, the former Tennessee Volunteer will turn professional after a summer that included his Walker Cup debut. Surratt was named first-team All-American after winning the 2023 SEC individual title. 

Vincent rounds out Legion XIII after earning his place in the league through LIV Golf Promotions. His brother, Scott, is a member of the Iron Heads.

The official unveiling of Rahm’s team comes at a time when professional golf world remains in flux. Sportico reported the Strategic Sports Group’s $3 billion investment into the PGA Tour Enterprises could come as early as this week. The SSG is spearheaded by Fenway Sports Group and features investors like Atlanta Falcons’ Arthur Blank and New York Mets’ Steven Cohen.

Sports Illustrated followed up this report with news of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (LIV Golf’s financial backers) and the PGA Tour making significant strides of their own. Both parties were in New York this past week, and an updated framework agreement could be the product of conversations. 

Optimism surrounding parties coming together and unifying professional golf is growing, but many questions remain. What does the future look like? How does additional signings by LIV Golf affect all this? Outside the major championships, when will all the best players in the world play against one another again?

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