[PHOTO: Lionel Ng]

Jon Rahm’s no longer with the PGA Tour after defecting to LIV Golf last December. But that’s not how Rahm sees it.

Speaking to the media overnight (Australian time) at Valhalla ahead of this week’s PGA Championship, Rahm was asked about the ongoing drama regarding the PGA Tour’s policy board in wake of Rory McIlroy’s blocked bid to return to tour leadership and Jimmy Dunne’s resignation in the past week, especially now that Rahm’s on the “other side”. The two-time major winner did not take kindly to the phrase.

“See you guys keep saying ‘the other side’, but I’m still a PGA Tour member, whether suspended or not,” Rahm said. “I still want to support the PGA Tour. And I think that’s an important distinction to make.

“I don’t feel like I’m on the other side. I’m just not playing there. That’s at least personally.”

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To Rahm’s credit, he has not surrendered his tour membership, which other LIV Golf members – like Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed – have done. In that same breath, Rahm’s name has been erased or scrubbed from several PGA Tour-sanctioned entities, including the tour’s career moneylist. After his signing with LIV Golf, Rahm was suspend from all PGA Tour-related activities.

Though Rahm has said he is happy with his decision to join the Saudi-backed league, he’s also admitted that leaving the PGA Tour was harder than he thought.

“I’m not going to lie; for everybody who said this would be easy, some things have been, but not being able to defend some titles that mean a lot to me hasn’t,” Rahm said earlier this year. “I love Palm Springs. I’ve been able to win twice there. Riviera is about as charismatic of a golf course as we have. It’s definitely a week that it’s fantastic for a lot of us, and it’s a fan and player favourite. Not being there was difficult. I still watched the broadcast. I still watch golf because I love watching it. But it’s hard.”

The comments after Dunne said there’s been a lack of “meaningful” progress with PIF on a deal. Overnight, Rahm reiterated that he doesn’t know what’s being discussed behind closed doors at the PGA Tour or LIV Golf, only that he hopes “we reach a resolution and a resolution that’s beneficial for everyone”.

Rahm is making his eighth career PGA Championship start this week. He finished T-50 at Oak Hill last May.