Why Jon Rahm Backed Out Of Tiger Woods & Rory McIlroy’s TGL

The tech-infused TGL golf league led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy lost a marquee player Thursday when Masters champion Jon Rahm decided to remove himself from the 24-man roster.

The announcement comes as TGL has spent the week revealing the format and details of the 15-hole team matches, team names and which players are being assigned to various cities.

“I am sad to confirm that I will not be participating in the first TGL season,” Rahm posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “While I still think it’s a great opportunity, right now it would require a level of commitment that I can’t offer.”

Rahm’s image recently was removed from TGL’s website, sparking queries about his involvement.

“Jon is one of the most talented players in the game and we will miss him during the inaugural TGL season,” the league said in a statement. “We understand that players have to balance a lot of different facets of their professional and personal lives and respect Jon’s choice and wish him well.”

TGL said it would name a replacement to the roster.

Atlanta Drive GC announced Justin Thomas as the first player assigned to one of the six teams. Boston Common GC earlier this week announced its team name and said Thursday its roster would comprise McIlroy, New England-raised Keegan Bradley, Adam Scott and Tyrrell Hatton. Scott’s first PGA Tour title was the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.

McIlroy and Woods are founders of TMRW Sports, which is backing TGL. The matches between two teams start Jan. 9 and the season goes through the end of March, televised on ESPN.

Collin Morikawa will be joining Los Angeles GC (Morikawa grew up just outside of LA). Five of the six teams have been announced, with one more still to come.

Rahm’s decision was sure to spark speculation about Saudi-funded LIV Golf. The TGL is in partnership with the PGA Tour and the team concept is seen as a response to the team aspect of LIV Golf. TGL had signed most of golf’s biggest names — 12 major champions and six players who have reached No. 1 in the world.

Rahm was among the first to reject any interest in a Saudi-funded league in the spring of 2020, though he favored allowing LIV players — such as Sergio Garcia — being part of the Ryder Cup.

Still to be determined is how much money is at stake for the players through teams or the TV rights fees. The prize fund for TGL has not been announced.

Players would be required to go to the Sofi Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, as many as five times for the prime-time matches that are expected to last two hours. Only three players of the four players on a team are activated, so a player likely won’t have to be in Florida for every week his team plays.

The matches involve nine holes of alternate shot among three players, followed by six holes of singles in which each player competes for two holes. The longer shots are hit into a screen that is 20 times the size of a standard simulator, and shots 50 yards and closer are actual, hit toward and on a green complex that can adapt for different shots.