[PHOTO: Manuel Velasquéz]

It was to be a sticking point for Jon Rahm as he mulled over whether to make the jump from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf League late last year. In the end, the fact that LIV events were just 54 holes, and included shotgun starts, didn’t keep the Masters champion from making the move and signing a reported $US350 million deal with the upstart circuit, but it’s something he hopes might still change in the future.

“I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes,” Rahm said in an interview with the BBC ahead of his title defence at Augusta National.

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Previously, when Rahm had been asked about LIV Golf events, he had lamented the format as taking away from the competitiveness of tournaments. Rahm notes that the tradition of 72-hole events created a legitimacy that LIV events would be lacking.

While that sentiment seems to remain, Rahm now contends that expanding to 72 holes might also increase the potential that the PGA Tour and LIV’s financial backers, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, might reach an agreement and unite the two groups so that the game’s best players would compete again on a regular basis beyond the four men’s majors.

“If there ever was a way where LIV could go to 72 holes, I think it would help all of this argument a lot,” Rahm said. “The closer I think we can get LIV Golf to some other things the better. I think it would be for some kind of unification to feed into a world tour or something like that.”

Rahm has played in all five of LIV’s events in 2023 for his newly created Legion XIII team. While he has yet to win, he has finished no worse than T-8 in any event. The idea of another 18 holes would probably benefit Rahm, who is arguably the best player on the circuit.