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Rahm: TOUR players should be 'thankful' to an extent for LIV Golf

Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Jon Rahm isn't joining LIV Golf, but that's not to say he hasn't found some silver linings from the birth of the new league.

"I think on this side of things, we should be thankful that LIV happened," Rahm said, according to Golf Channel's Max Schreiber. "I don't know if those changes would have happened if LIV wasn't in the picture. So to an extent, yeah, we should be thankful."

The PGA TOUR has recently made changes to increase the amount of money going into its own players' pockets. It introduced the Player Impact Program (PIP) for 2021 and doubled the number of players receiving money from the list in 2022.

Tiger Woods, who's topped the list in both years, won a bonus of $15 million this season from PIP. Rory McIlroy received $12 million as runner-up. McIlroy won the 2021-22 season-ending TOUR Championship, which resulted in an $18-million bonus as well.

The TOUR announced earlier this year an increase in elevated events for 2023. Four were granted elevated status in October and saw their purses increase to $20 million. Thirteen other events - including the majors and FedEx Cup Playoffs - were previously awarded larger purses and a field guaranteed to be made up of the top players.

Players with a TOUR card for 2023 will also earn a minimum of $500,000.

These changes were likely a direct result of its competition. LIV Golf held its first season in 2022, which included lucrative purses of $25 million for its regular-season events with $4 million going directly to the winner. Its individual champion received a year-end prize of $18 million from a $30-million purse, and the season-ending team championship carried a total of $50 million.

LIV Golf will expand to 14 events in 2023 and will carry a total of $405 million in prize money.

"I don't think it was a bad year for golf," Rahm said. "Yes, there's certain division, but I think we're moving forward. I think the fans are getting - however you want to look at it on one side or the other - you're getting a different product. Change can always be exciting."

Rahm finished fifth on the PIP list this year, earning him a $6-million bonus. He's currently playing in the Bahamas with 19 other of the TOUR's top players for Woods' Hero World Challenge.

While the purses in men's professional golf are rising at a faster rate than in recent years, the Spaniard said money is not why he continues to play.

"Every decision I make when it comes to golf is to become the best player I can become," he said.

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