LIV has landed its next major golfer as Englishman Tyrrell Hatton is joining Ryder Cup teammate Jon Rahm in the Saudi-funded league, LIV Golf announced Tuesday.
Hatton, 32, is the No. 16 player in the world and joins just before LIV’s season opener on Feb. 2 in Mexico. He is a six-time winner on the European tour with one PGA Tour win at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational. In terms of consistent production, Hatton ranked No. 11 on the PGA Tour’s money earned list in 2023.
The announcement coincided with the creation of Legion XIII, a LIV Golf expansion team captained by Rahm. Caleb Surratt, a first-team All-American at the University of Tennessee and runner-up at the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur, is also joining LIV on Rahm’s team.
— Legion XIII (@LegionXIIIgc) January 30, 2024
As negotiations continue between LIV and the PGA Tour, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has continued pursuing top players to strengthen its position in the sport (and potentially its negotiating position). Landing Masters champ Jon Rahm in December was the biggest signing yet, and Polish golfer Adrian Meronk, the No. 39 player in the world, added another rising player.
Hatton was asked about LIV on Jan. 20 at a tournament in Dubai, saying, “There’s a lot of people who have and I don’t think there is anything to shy away from.” When asked if he is staying, Hatton said: “As of right now, yeah.”
Through much of the fall months, rumors spread that LIV would poach several huge stars this offseason. Signing Rahm was perhaps as big as it could get, but two months later, the word of many joining him fell flat. Rumored candidates like Tony Finau ended up committing to the PGA Tour, and talks with Hatton carried on for months. So landing another key player like Hatton helps LIV solidify its offseason additions and further cement its place as the home of many top European golfers.
Negotiations between PIF and the PGA Tour continue, as the two parties extended talks from the original Dec. 31 deadline. There is growing optimism that a deal could get done in the coming weeks, so you may ask yourself why LIV is still poaching players. The primary line of thinking is that it strengthens PIF’s position in negotiations. Also, there’s the theory that if players sense a deal will get done and peace will reign in the future of golf, players may want to take the huge payday first with the hope suspensions and OWGR issues don’t last.
Hatton is a complicated figure in the golf landscape. He’s unanimously considered one of the best golfers in the game, a three-time Ryder Cup player with two wins and ranked No. 10 in the world by DataGolf. Yet he has just one PGA Tour win and no wins on the DP World Tour since 2021. He exists in a sort of golf purgatory, a player far better than his accolades show but not quite living up to his ability. It’s also unclear if it hurts or helps that he’s most known for his angry — yet quite funny — outbursts on the course.
The strangest part of Hatton’s career is that, yes, he’s unbelievably consistent overall — finishing top 20 in 51 of his last 96 events — but he has just five top-10 major finishes in his career. And none of those have come since 2019. Not to oversimplify Hatton’s impressive career, but as a golfer already building a career on consistent play and high paychecks without the prestige of big wins, maybe joining LIV makes sense.
(Photo: David Cannon / Getty Images)