Jon Rahm reckons Masters dinner will be 'tense' due to ongoing LIV Golf dispute

Spanish world number five Jon Rahm is expecting a somewhat frosty atmosphere at this year's Masters champions dinner due to golf's ongoing civil war.

With the recent news that LIV golfers will be eligible to play in the Masters, it means former winners turned LIV pros like Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson will be in attendance.

The breakaway Saudi-backed tour has already signed a number of high-profile players, and Rahm expects that list to continue growing despite the PGA Tour's best efforts to thwart its new rivals.

"I think we all know where we stand," Rahm said ahead of Thursday's Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. "There are still going to be players that choose to transition to LIV is my guess.

"But for a lot of us, I think we see the direction the PGA Tour is going toward. They're making the necessary changes to adapt to the new age and I think it's better for everybody.

"It's an exciting year. We're all curious about how it's going to work out. We're all excited to see how it's going to unfold."

The Masters announced last month it will not change qualifying criteria for the 2023 Masters - even if they're not particularly happy about it - ensuring LIV Golf players will be able to compete.

"Regrettably, recent actions have divided men's professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it," Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said.

Rahm won't be in attendance at the Masters champions dinner because he's yet to win the coveted green jacket, but said he wishes he could be a fly on the wall.

"It's probably only funny to me, but I think the Masters Champions Dinner is going to be a little tense compared to how it has been in the past," The Spaniard added.

"So I keep thinking about it because I wish I could be there and just be able to see how things work out. Too bad the US Open doesn't have one of those."

Personally, however, Rahm says he has no issues with LIV players or the decision they made.

"I respect their choice and the ones I was friends with before I'm still going to be friends with. It doesn't change the way I'm going to operate with them.

"I think a lot of animosity, if there's any, might be created more by (reporters) more than anything else. I don't think there's that much of a problem between players, at least in person."

Rahm also hopes the DP World Tour and PGA Tour will become aligned in their thinking for the upcoming Ryder Cup.

"Some people that are going to have to make some tough choices," he added. "My guess is I hope the PGA of America and European Tour make a decision together. I don't think it would be smart to have one team allowing LIV players and one not."

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