January 29, 2024

Tyrrell Hatton banking on PGA Tour merger after making £50m LIV Golf decision | Golf | Sport

European Ryder Cup hero Tyrrell Hatton is gambling on his future in the storied tournament and golf’s major championships after putting pen to paper on a £50million deal with LIV Golf. The world number 16 will be unveiled as LIV’s newest signing this week ahead of the Saudi Arabia-backed tour’s season-opening event in Mayakoba, Mexico

Hatton had toyed with the idea of making the leap to the breakaway circuit over the winter with LIV aggressively looking for top talent to add to its roster after the seismic addition of two-time major champion Jon Rahm in December. According to The Telegraph, LIV finally made a breakthrough in negotiations with the 32-year-old last week and he is set to be unveiled in Mexico on Wednesday.

The Englishman had been reluctant to leave the PGA Tour behind amid fears he would lose the opportunity to play in the Ryder Cup and the majors. Hatton is yet to win a major championship, and while he will play in all four this year due to his place in the Official World Golf Ranking, he will likely tumble down the list with LIV events not sanctioned by the body.

As for the Ryder Cup, Hatton’s place on Luke Donald’s team to take on the Americans at Bethpage in 2025 is in serious doubt. European Ryder Cup players must have a DP World Tour membership to qualify. Hatton will not resign his membership, but he will be hit with fines for every LIV event he plays, making it highly unlikely he will be able to play enable to accrue enough qualifying points.

However, an increased offer from the Saudis and LIV commissioner Greg Norman has swayed Hatton, as well as a phone call from Rahm. The pair have enjoyed success when paired together in the Ryder Cup, particularly in Rome last year, and Hatton is set to join Rahm’s as yet unnamed team on LIV.

And with yet another top European player making the leap away from the golf establishment, yet more pressure has been placed on the authorities to change rules to allow LIV players to qualify for Donald’s team. There is no doubt Donald would want both Hatton and Rahm at his disposal at Bethpage.

Hatton appears to have taken a calculated risk that another dramatic change to the golf landscape is on the horizon, with LIV owners the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and the PGA Tour locked in merger negotiations with the DP World Tour that could heal the fractures that have split the game apart over the past two years.

If a positive resolution is found, LIV will become part of the golf establishment and players from both sides will be given opportunities to play on all tours. In that scenario, changes to Ryder Cup and major championship qualifying regulations are inevitable.


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