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Masters champion Rahm to stay away from public events after joining LIV Golf

Rahm's decision to join LIV Golf shocked the sports world
Rahm's decision to join LIV Golf shocked the sports worldReuters
Masters champion Jon Rahm (29) said on Wednesday that he had decided to lay low and would avoid public events until February after agreeing to jump from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf in a big-money move that made headlines across the globe.

In his first appearance after signing with the rebel circuit funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Spaniard was surprised to find TV cameras at an event he was attending in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao.

"I didn't think there would be any cameras and that it would be a bit more intimate," Rahm told a select audience at the Sociedad Bilbaina hall, who appeared to be outnumbered by media professionals.

Rahm was there to receive the 'Dama Bilbaina 2023' prize awarded by the private club founded in 1839 in his native Basque Country, in recognition of his sporting career.

"I am under very strict instructions not to do public events, which I have imposed on myself a little bit for myself, and for the change I have given to the world of golf in the last week," Rahm said, giving a categorical "No!" when asked if he was planning to give an interview.

"There will be nothing until February, I'm not allowed to."

One of golf's most popular and charismatic figures, Rahm became the biggest name to sign on with LIV Golf since Australian Cameron Smith joined after winning the 2022 British Open.

Media reports said the world number three Spaniard will be paid at least $300 million with some outlets putting the guaranteed figure at closer to $600 million.

Rahm's departure will be seen as another massive blow to the PGA Tour which has watched many of its stars defect to the breakaway league lured by massive paydays.

He described himself on Wednesday as a "normal person".

"I don't consider that what I do is much different and that I am more or less important than the rest," Rahm said.

"The only thing is that I'm seen on TV right now and that's it... hopefully a little less so in the future..."

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