PGA Tour star Jon Rahm could be gearing up to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf

Jon Rahm of Spain celebrates making a putt for birdie on the 18th green during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, California.

Sean M. Haffey | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Golf superstar Jon Rahm is gearing up to leave the PGA Tour for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Rahm, who won the Masters in April and is ranked no. 3 in the world, could announce the deal as soon as this week, the Journal added. The outlet cautioned that talks could still fall apart.

Such a move would be the latest blockbuster development in the long and tumultuous saga of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. The two leagues face a Dec. 31 deadline to decide the fate of their proposed combination.

The golf world is rife with speculation that a deal with Rahm could be part of a strategy by LIV to pressure the PGA Tour into sign off on the merger. LIV Golf replied to CNBC’s request for comment with an automated message.

LIV has poached PGA players in the past for deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars, such as Phil Mickelson. This has been a sticking point for other golfers in the sport. Rory McIlroy, the world’s no. 2 player, said in July that he would retire if LIV Golf was “the last place to play golf on earth.”

The PGA Tour did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment, nor did representatives for Rahm.

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