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Rory McIlroy would be “very surprised” if Jon Rahm ditched the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.

Rumours swirled on social media when Rahm pulled out of the new TGL venture, fronted by McIlroy and Tiger Woods, amid unsubstantiated claims that the Spaniard could be planning a big-money switch to the Saudi-backed tour.

That was despite PGA Tour stalwart Rahm saying back in August that “I laugh when people link me with LIV Golf” and that he’s never liked the 54-hole, no-cut format.

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Rahm, who resides in Arizona, withdrew from the new tech-infused simulator league, which is set to be based in a purpose-built arena in Florida, because he could not commit to competing in the matches.

“I am sad to confirm that I will not be participating in the first TGL season,” the Masters champion said last week. “While I still think it’s a great opportunity, right now, it would require a level of commitment that I can’t offer.”

McIlroy is convinced Rahm had no ulterior motive.

“I spoke to Jon a couple days ago and would be very, very surprised if that were to happen,” the Northern Irishman told reporters at the launch of his Boston Common TGL team. “I’m pretty confident Jon is a PGA Tour player.”

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Rahm’s early departure has left McIlroy and Woods looking for one new player to fill out the 24-player roster for the innovative new competition, which begins on January 9.

McIlroy’s team includes Adam Scott, Tyrell Hatton and Keegan Bradley, while Woods’ squad is yet to be announced.

The TGL matches will be played on a huge simulator screen and short game complex in the So-Fi Center, a state-of-the-art arena to be built in Palm Beach Gardens and will be available on primetime TV in the US.

The world-class TGL roster also includes Justin Thomas, Max Homa, Rickie Fowler, Shane Lowry and Justin Rose.

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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.

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