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Jon Rahm: Rory McIlroy's stand against LIV and performances 'incredible' | Fears for Sergio Garcia's legacy

"It's great to see somebody with his [McIlroy's] platform take a stand, whether you agree with it or not. I think it's great"; "It [LIV] could have an impact [on Garcia]. I have a hard time believing a lot of those players are going to have a positive impact with their legacy" - Jon Rahm

Image: Jon Rahm has hailed Rory McIlroy's efforts as 'incredible' on and off the golf course this year

World No 5 Jon Rahm has hailed Rory McIlroy's stand against LIV Golf in tandem with his golfing performances this year, and admits he is worried for the legacy of fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia.

McIlroy is targeting more Dubai success this week, live on Sky Sports Golf, as the world No 1 aims to round off a memorable 2022 with DP World Tour Championship victory.

A runner-up finish at The Masters and eighth-place showing at the PGA Championship were followed by him claiming fifth at the US Open and then narrowly missing out on victory at The Open, before McIlroy brought his FedExCup-winning form from the PGA Tour back across to Europe in the autumn.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his third shot on the 18th hole during the third round of The DP World Tour Championship on The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 20, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Image: McIlroy is aiming to clinch DP World Tour Championship victory this week, live on Sky Sports

McIlroy claimed joint-second with Rahm at the BMW PGA Championship in the first of three consecutive top-four finishes on the DP World Tour, lifting him to top spot, with the 33-year-old now looking to become the first player since Henrik Stenson to win the FedExCup and DP World Tour order of merit in the same year.

All the while, McIlroy, who won the CJ Cup back on the PGA Tour on his last outing, has been a loyal supporter of golf's established tours in their legal battle with Saudi-funded breakaway circuit LIV, and believes it may take chief-executive Greg Norman exiting LIV Golf to get any resolution within the sport.

Rahm, when asked how he rated McIlroy's actions on and off the golf course, was full of praise...

"How do I rate? You're putting me in a difficult position here," he said.

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"He's played amazing golf to win the FedExCup, and to have a chance to win the Race to Dubai as well.

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, holds the winning trophy after the final round of the CJ Cup golf tournament Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Ridgeland, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Image: McIlroy's performances this year saw him become FedExCup champion

"This would be I think the second time in his career he wins both, which is quite an accomplishment. He's played amazing. I think the only thing he will tell you that's missing is a major championship off having a pretty amazing year.

"It's great to see somebody with his platform to take a stand as he did, whether you agree with it or not, he's taken a stand on what he believes in and that's it. I think it's great.

Image: Speaking at a press conference, Rahm was full of praise for McIlroy and admitted he worries for Sergio Garcia's legacy

"He's had a lot of input. He's been on the board of the PGA Tour and tried to make a change.

"To be honest, with how long those meetings are and how much as players we talk to each other to play as good as he has, is pretty remarkable.

"I mean, in this profession, we are all basically CEOs of our own little golf company, and now he has invested in so much more. Again, the role he's had in both is quite incredible."

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McIlroy says Greg Norman needs to step down from his position as LIV Golf chief executive immediately because golf's tours need an 'adult in the room' to help end their feud

On the flip side, Ryder Cup legend Garcia was one of the first to leave the PGA and DP World Tours and join LIV.

The Spaniard has 16 career wins on the DP World Tour and has appeared in 320 tournaments since turning pro in 1999. The 2017 Masters champion has reached as high as No 2 in the world.

The 42-year-old's decision to join LIV may also see him ineligible to compete in the Ryder Cup, an event he has appeared in 10 times in his career and scored the most points (28.5) in the competition's history.

Rahm, while saying he hopes Garcia's legacy remain untarnished, admits he can see how it might be to some.

"I hope not [Garcia's legacy affected]. It's very unprecedented, right, what we've been dealing with in the game of golf, in the hasn't even been that long, what, six months. And there's certainly going to be a before and after at some point, and there's definitely some division going on.

Image: Garcia's legacy may well be tainted for some due to his LIV Golf exploits, Rahm admits

"But I think to the core fans who have been fans of Sergio, I don't think they care, really, where he plays. Some of them might, but most of them I don't really think they care.

"It still shouldn't change what he's done in the game; what he's done in the Ryder Cup, European Tour, PGA Tour, shouldn't be affected by where he decides to play golf, at least in my mind.

"It could have somewhat of an impact. I have a hard time believing a lot of those players are going to have a positive impact with their legacy right now.

Image: Garcia is the most successful Ryder Cup player in history, but may not even be eligible to play now

"We don't know what's going to happen, but if it does, I hope it's not a big one, let's say it that way. He's done a lot for the game of golf, so it would be sad to see that change."

Rahm: We need to stop giving LIV publicity | 'I'm not totally against LIV players gaining ranking points'

Regarding World Ranking points and LIV golf, Rahm admitted he is not against some LIV players being rewarded, but said there would have to be adjustments made, both for LIV players and to the world ranking system generally...

"We need to stop giving LIV the publicity. They are not asking for it. That's the first thing I'm going to say," he added.

"I'm going to be as blunt as I can. I think the Official World Golf Ranking right now is laughable.

"The fact that the RSM Classic doesn't have any of the top 20 in the world has more points than this event where we have seven of the top 20 is laughable. The fact that Wentworth had less points than Napa, having players in the top 10 in the world is laughable.

"I think a lot of people are against them having World Ranking points. I'm not necessarily against it but there should be adjustments.

"If your requirement is to have World Ranking points as 72 holes and a cut, maybe you don't award them 100 per cent of the points since they are not fulfilling all of the requirements.

"I also believe, it's probably a couple-year process, so they need to respect that as every other tour has.

"But, like we say, if there's some requirements and it's only 54 holes and you don't have a cut, maybe you award them, let's say the winner will get 30 or I give them 75 per cent of them, I don't know.

"They do have some incredible players. To say that Dustin [Johnson] wasn't one of the best players this year would be a mistake."

Watch the DP World Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday with Featured Groups from 5am on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from 7am.

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