Jon Rahm Rejects Phil Mickelson's PGA Tour Claim

The Spaniard has hit out at Lefty's recent claim that the PGA Tour is "trending downwards"

Jon Rahm close up shot on the golf course
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jon Rahm has responded to Phil Mickelson's recent claim that the PGA Tour is "trending downwards" with the Spaniard stating "I don't know what he's talking about."

"I really, I really don't know why he said that. There's been some changes being made, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's going down, right?" said the World No.5, who is getting his 2022-23 PGA Tour season underway this week.

The 27-year-old, who was evidently confused, added: "I truly don't know why he said that. Don't know. I really, I really don't know. I think there's some great changes being made and great changes for the players on the Tour. I truly don't know what drove him to say something like that."

Lefty has endured a controversy-filled year following his historic Major victory at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Prior to his LIV Golf acquisition, he labelled the Saudi's "scary motherf******" to Alan Shipnuck, the author of his unauthorised biography, which he later claimed was 'off the record'. Those comments led to him taking time away from the game and missing both the Masters and his PGA Championship title defence.

The six-time Major winner attracted further criticism after he insisted the PGA Tour is "trending downwards" and that "you have to pick a side" before claiming that he "firmly" believes he is on the "winning" team in golf's civil war between LIV and the PGA Tour.

The divide between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is apparent and will likely spill into the Ryder Cup, which is set to be contested at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome next year. Speaking of the dissension and the possible impacts on the biennial tournament, Rahm said: "You need to have that welcoming aspect. If there's some animosity between players, it's just not going to work out. Very few teams can succeed when players don't get along. I don't know if you can really make that happen."

Sergio Garcia claimed he'd rather be out of the Ryder Cup if his involvement had a negative impact on his teammates: "I’ve always said I love the Ryder Cup too much," he told Sports Illustrated. "I obviously would love to keep being a part of it. When I see that so many people are against it - if the team is better without me, I’d rather be out of it.

"There’s obviously several guys who feel strongly that way. The Tour is on that same thought. So I don’t want to be something that might hurt the team. I love the Ryder Cup too much."

The Ryder Cup will inevitably be impacted by the emergence of LIV Golf but Rahm remains optimistic ahead of Rome: "A lot of young players are playing great and if things can get worked out, obviously those people are going to have a start. That doesn't mean we don't have a chance, it means we're going to have a young team, which is not a bad thing. U.S. last year did okay with a young team, so hopefully we can do the same."

The Spaniard's comments followed a similar vein to that of European Captain Luke Donald, who recently-praised would be rookies Robert MacIntyre and Guido Migliozzi for their Italian and French Open victories. 

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.