Rahm Saves the Masters from LIV Golf

The Masters was hosted last weekend in Augusta, Georgia, at Augusta National Golf Club, featuring the best golfers from across the world. The Masters is one of the premier PGA tournaments, and this year, it generated a great deal more interest because of the controversy involving LIV golfers playing in the tournament. In the end, John Rahm won the tourney, and in the eyes of many fans, he saved the Masters from the LIV tour golfers.

The first couple days consisted of intense competition, but by the final two rounds after cuts were made, only two competitors seemed to have a real chance at winning. LIV golfer, Brooks Koepka, had his largest lead at 13 under, ahead by a few shots over Rahm.

During each round of The Masters, PGA players were consistently scoring higher on average than LIV players, yet Koepka was still in the lead. But on the last day, Rahm shot three under par, while Brooks Koepka shot three over par giving Rahm his first Masters green jacket.

Masters winner John Rahm lifting his first Masters trophy and wearing the famous green jacket. (Photo Credit: newsfop.com)

“I think I proved I can win majors again. I’ve known for a while, but it was just about going out and doing it. I didn’t do it on the last day, plain and simple,” stated Koepka after the final round concluded.

But the biggest issue with this year’s Masters was that LIV golfers were able to play in the tournament.

In December 2022, Fred Ridley, the Chairman of Augusta National, announced that the tournament would allow members of LIV Golf to participate, including past PGA championship winners (even if they switched to LIV Golf) and any winner of a major championship in the past five years.

It is surprising to see The Masters allow the LIV golfers to participate, considering how scrutinizing the PGA was on those golfers, but since Augusta National is a private club, the PGA has no jurisdiction over who can play in the tournament.

The controversy exists mostly due to the fact that LIV Golf is owned by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Saudi Arabia, also known as the Saudi Arabian Monarchy, and there’s a concern that the Saudis are in it for money and sportwashing.

“The kingdom’s fund has set its sights on the sports sector as another investment piece in its portfolio and has invested a reported $2 billion into LIV Golf” (cnbc.com).

Past events have overshadowed the trustworthiness of the owners of LIV Golf. One common speculation is a result of members of the Saudi Monarchy having contributed to Al-Qaeda, masterminds of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Mohammed Bin Salman (the prince of Saudi Arabia) has also been criticized for his involvement in the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident journalist. Calls across the world have been made to deprive Bin Salman of his ownerships of sports entities across the world, including one from England, due to Bin Salman’s purchase of Premier League soccer team, Newcastle United.

The crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. (Photo Credit: sustg.com)

Since The Masters allowed LIV golfers to compete, it opens a possibility for more future controversy between the PGA and LIV Golf. Although The Masters’ entry list is not controlled by the PGA, many fans still correlate the two, and thus the future of golf will seemingly be dealing with these difficult circumstances for years to come.