Tyrrell Hatton has become the latest player to join LIV Golf and will make his debut in Mexico this week as part of Masters champion Jon Rahm’s team.
The world number 16 has career earnings of more than £20 million, having won six times on the DP World Tour and the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational, but has not lifted an individual title for three years.
The 32-year-old had entered this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour, but will now contest the Saudi-funded breakaway’s first event of 2024 in Mayakoba.
Hatton is joined on Rahm’s Legion XIII team by former top amateur Caleb Surratt and Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent, who won his place via the LIV Golf Promotions event.
— Legion XIII (@LegionXIIIgc) January 30, 2024
“I’m really excited for this next chapter, to link up with Jon Rahm and Legion XIII and to get started this week in Mexico,” Hatton said.
Hatton and Rahm won both of their matches together in last year’s Ryder Cup in Rome, the fiery characters earning the nickname of “Team Angry” as they helped Luke Donald’s European side regain the trophy.
Hatton’s defection will therefore be of huge concern to Donald as he attempts to spearhead a first Ryder Cup win on away soil since 2012 at Bethpage next year.
As things stand, Hatton will be eligible to qualify or receive a wild card as long as he remains a DP World Tour member, which requires him to play in four regular tournaments per season.
He will also earn points towards qualification through major championships, but faces fines and suspensions for playing in LIV tournaments without the required “conflicting event” releases from the DP World Tour.
In April last year, an arbitration panel ruled that the Tour had the right to sanction players for such “serious breaches” of its code of behaviour, a case sparked by 12 players appealing against fines of £100,000 and suspension from the Scottish Open for playing LIV’s inaugural event in June 2022.
It is understood that fines and suspensions are assessed on a case-by-case basis, with former LIV player Bernd Wiesberger having regained his DP World Tour membership after serving a ban and paying all of his fines.
Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood resigned their memberships in the wake of the arbitration panel’s decision, while Henrik Stenson was sacked as Ryder Cup captain after joining the Saudi-funded breakaway.
It remains to be seen if the LIV rebels will be handed a route back to the Ryder Cup via the ongoing negotiations between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls LIV Golf.
The initial December 31 deadline for the Framework Agreement to be formalised has been extended, but the PGA Tour is also reported to being on the verge of a deal with a consortium of US-based investors which includes Boston Red Sox and Liverpool owner John Henry.