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Tigers Woods focused on golf merger talks amid Jon Rahm-LIV rumours

Jon Rahm reportedly considering LIV offer of around $600m; USA pair Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele two more names that have been tied to LIV rumours; Woods: "Hypothetically would it surprise me? Yes, but there's so many different things that have happened"

Image: Jon Rahm has been linked with a move to LIV, with Tiger Woods saying the rumours 'surprise' him

Tiger Woods says he would be surprised if rumours that several big-name players are on the verge of signing with LIV Golf prove to be true.

Some media reports have suggested Jon Rahm, the reigning Masters champion and world's No 3-ranked player, is weighing an offer of around $600m to sign with the Saudi-backed league. United States Ryder Cup stalwarts Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are two more names that have been tied to LIV rumours.

Without being asked about specific players, Woods was asked if the rumours surprise him.

"Hypothetically would it surprise me? Yes, but there's so many different things that have happened in the last 48 hours, but also in the last few weeks," Woods said after his second round at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. "Things have changed and will continue to change."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said earlier this week that a December 31 deadline to finalise an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour remains "a firm target".

"Our deadline's coming up here soon, so there's a lot of moving parts," Woods said. "A lot of different things are happening very quickly because we know, you know, I think today's the first day in December. We don't have a whole lot of time."

Woods, who had no knowledge of the framework agreement at the time of the announcement in June, has since joined the PGA Tour's Policy Board as a player director. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy left the board and was recently replaced by Jordan Spieth.

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Tiger Woods shot a three-over75 on his comeback at the Hero World Challenge
Image: Woods instead preferred to focus on the upcoming deadline for golf's merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF

Spieth, who is tied for the lead at Albany Golf Club, acknowledged that losing Rahm to LIV would be a big blow to the PGA Tour.

"I'm not sure specifically how it would impact those negotiations, but all in all, Jon Rahm is one of the biggest assets that we have on the PGA Tour," he said.

"So it would be really not very good for us in general because we want to play against the best players in the world and that's what Jon is.

"I know there's been some guys that have talked to him. I know he's maybe weighing some decisions, maybe not. I really don't know, so I don't want to insult him and say he's weighing decisions if he already knows he's not or he is. You know, that's somewhat out of my control in a way.

"Obviously, I could speak probably on behalf of 200-plus PGA Tour players in saying that we really hope that he's continuing with us."

Jordan Spieth is set to compete in Rome later this summer
Image: Jordan Spieth, who has joined the PGA Tour's Policy Board as a player director, says Rahm moving to LIV would 'really not be very good'

Scottie Scheffler said this week that he's "extremely grateful" for Woods' involvement, and the world's No 1-ranked player is in the Bahamas competing in his first stroke play event since the Tour Championship. Noticeably absent, however, are Rahm, Cantlay and Schauffele.

Rahm did not commit to this year's event, while Cantlay and Schauffele withdrew last month, further fueling speculation they may join LIV.

Rahm also recently pulled out of the Woods and McIlroy backed TGL, citing the time commitment, although the league has since delayed its debut until 2025 after the roof of its facility collapsed and caused damage. Cantlay and Schauffele are among the marquee players who had committed to the league.

While acknowledging the rumours swirling, Woods sidestepped a second question about whether he'd be surprised by more marquee defections to LIV.

"Nothing has really surprised me other than the fact that there's so many different things that have happened so fast," he said. "That's one of the things that all of our - all of us as player-directors we've been working on, just that everything is now at a time crunch.

"It's 24 hours a day just trying to figure it out."

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