Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

From “having a lead role in The Godfather to now being a sideshow vaudeville act.”

That’s how Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee has described Jon Rahm’s transition after the Spaniard’s nine-figure move from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf.

Rahm became the most high-profile player to jump ship for LIV in what was considered a seismic coup for the Saudi-backed breakaway league during a productive offseason.

Chamblee, who has long vehemently opposed LIV’s surge into the elite male game, had expressed concern before Rahm’s move that the Masters champion would make the switch.

•  LIV Golf ends pursuit of Official World Golf Ranking points

• Bubba Watson outlines ‘easy’ pathway for LIV stars into majors

He said, however, that he hopes the player’s “deep knowledge of the history of the game and his obvious future place in it will keep him from selling out.”

Now, the former PGA Tour pro believes Rahm’s status in the game has significantly diminished because he plays the bulk of his golf on Greg Norman’s enterprise.

Speaking about Rahm’s LIV debut in Mexico on Scott Verplank’s podcast, Chamblee said: “The music was blaring, he had shorts on, and he was getting pretty pissy about somebody taking a picture of him in the middle of his swing.

“And it just hit me! It just hit me…. and I thought, this guy went from essentially having a lead role in The Godfather to now being a sideshow vaudeville act.

• LIV golfer’s slow play penalty costs him £200,000

• LIV Golf star claims standard is ’10 times better’ than DP World Tour

“And all these players, it seems to me, realise that they’ve all made a faustian pact. All of them.

“They’ve all sold their independent nature. Independent contractors is what they were referred to when playing the PGA Tour.

“When they were independent they could go wherever they wanted, play any tour they wanted, play at any time they wanted, were free to skip any event they wanted and they were pretty much able to say and do anything they wanted. But now, they’re not.”

Chamblee is concerned that golf has now been damaged beyond repair.

“What’s happening to the game of golf is that we’re risking alienating the lifelong fan of the game, the core golfer,” he added.

“Those are the people that drive the game of golf. They tune in to watch the best players in the world and if they become detached with the best players in the world they’re not as likely to tune in.

“I think the game has been irreparably damaged and tilted towards greed. And I don’t know if the game will ever be the same, unfortunately.”

author headshot

Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses

Latest podcast

The 2024 Masters Commute – Final Round Recap LIVE from Augusta