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Scottie Scheffler misses Jon Rahm rivalry on PGA Tour and questions pathway back for LIV Golf players

Scottie Scheffler will defend his title at The Players, beginning on March 14 at TPC Sawgrass; hear the full Scheffler interview in a special Players edition of the Sky Sports Golf podcast, available from March 12; watch the PGA Tour every week live on Sky Sports

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Who will win The Players? Watch the stars of the PGA Tour in action at TPC Sawgrass from March 14-17, live on Sky Sports

Scottie Scheffler has admitted he misses his rivalry with Jon Rahm since the Spaniard left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf and recognises that the sport is in a "weird state".

The two players have enjoyed multiple stints at the top of the world rankings since Scheffler replaced Rory McIlroy as world No 1 last February, with Rahm moving ahead of him a week later when he claimed a third PGA Tour title in five events.

Scheffler reclaimed top spot when he won The Players - a title he will defend later this month, live on Sky Sports - before Rahm jumped back to world No 1 when he won The Masters the following month to move halfway towards the career Grand Slam.

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Highlights from the final round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in 2023, where Scottie Scheffler impressed

A runner-up finish at the PGA Championship in May was enough to get Scheffler back to No 1, a position he has never relinquished, with Rahm's post-season move to the LIV Golf League now limiting them to competing against each other only in the majors.

"To be completely honest, Jon [Rahm] was one of my favourite people to play against," Scheffler exclusively told the Sky Sports Golf podcast. "We had some good battles throughout the years and I was pretty surprised that he decided to take the money and leave.

Image: Scheffler and Jon Rahm have not competed in the same event together since the Spaniard's move to LIV Golf

"I've got a lot of good friends over there [LIV Golf]. Brooks [Koepka] left, DJ [Dustin Johnson] left and I definitely miss seeing a lot of those guys. They were a big part of my life out here on tour and it's still a bit weird that they're not around.

"We'll see what happens in the future, but I definitely miss competing against some of those guys. It's one of those deals, it's just kind of a strange time in the game of golf.

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"A lot of the guys that left early were a bit in the later years of their career and they made their decisions, but I have no ill feelings towards any of the guys. We're just in a weird state of the game."

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A look back on how Rory McIlroy's stance on LIV Golf appears to have changed over the course of the last two years

Could LIV Golf players return?

Rahm and the rest of the LIV Golf players will be missing from the field for The Players next week, where Scheffler looks to become the first back-to-back champion, with no announcement yet on when the Framework Agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF will be finalised.

The potential pathway back for players to switch between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf circuit remains uncertain, although Scheffler warns that it would be difficult to immediately welcome returning players back with open arms.

The Players Championship Live

"By the PGA Tour, if nothing happened and if they [LIV Golf players] came back like nothing happened, I think it would be a bit strange," Scheffler conceded.

"When guys were thinking about leaving and this tour kind of came about, lifetime bans and stuff like that were thrown around. If they came back like nothing ever happened, then it would not be popular among the membership.

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Tiger Woods says they are exploring pathways back for players who left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf on a daily basis

"We'll see what happens in the next couple of years. Who knows what's going to happen in the world of golf - things just keep changing. I just do my best to try and stay in my own lane and try and play tournaments."

Scheffler was speaking to Sky Sports ahead of The Players, with the full interview released as part of a special preview podcast on Tuesday March 12. Download and listen to the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast and don't forget to subscribe via Spotify, Spreaker or Apple Podcasts!

Watch The Players live from March 14-17 on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday March 14 from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime.

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