The LIV Golf Invitational Series has been the talk of the golf world, even as the 2022 U.S. Open approaches. While the new Saudi-backed league has gotten plenty of attention, the overwhelming majority of the world’s best players are still part of the PGA Tour. 

The first-ever LIV Golf field did feature some of the sport’s biggest names. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia were just some of the players who competed in last week’s inaugural event and were subsequently suspended from the PGA Tour. Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are expected to be part of the next LIV Golf field at the end of the month.

The top 15 players in the world golf rankings have not made the jump to LIV Golf. Despite the amount of potential prize money to be made with LIV Golf, many of the best PGA Tour players seem unlikely to leave anytime soon.

"To be honest, part of the format is not really appealing to me,” Jon Rahm said of LIV Golf Tuesday in Brookline, Massachusetts. "Shotgun, three days, to me is not a golf tournament, no cut. It's that simple. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that's been going on for hundreds of years. That's what I want to see."

Rahm is second in the world golf rankings and among the top contenders to win the 2022 U.S. Open. Two days before the start of the year’s third major, the 27-year-old explained that he had little interest in competing in an upstart tour where the competition isn’t nearly as strong. 

"I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world," Rahm said. "There's meaning when you win the Memorial Championship. There's meaning when you win Arnold Palmer's event at Bay Hill. There's a meaning when you win, L.A., Torrey, some of the historic venues. That to me matters a lot."

Forty-eight players competed for their share of $25 million in prize money at the first LIV Golf event. The biggest names in the series have reportedly been paid nine-figure deals just for agreeing to be part of the PGA Tour’s new rival series. 

“It’s astronomical money that they’re throwing at people,’’ Justin Thomas told reporters Monday. “There’s going to be some kind of number that’s going to get people to think about it, and they’re reaching that number with a lot of people. Selfishly, I don’t want anybody to leave.’’ 

Thomas finished in third place at the 2022 RBC Canadian Open Sunday and enters the U.S. Open as the world’s No. 5 ranked golfer. Rory McIlroy is ranked No. 3 in the world after winning the tournament. Both players have expressed disappointment in the fact that golfers are leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.

“I grew up my entire life wanting to play the PGA Tour, wanting to break records, make history, play Presidents Cups, play Ryder Cups,” Thomas said. “The fact that things like [the product of the PGA Tour] could potentially get hurt because of some of the people that are leaving, and if more go, it’s just sad. Everything has got a price, I guess.’’

McIlroy is the betting favorite to win the U.S. Open. The four-time major winner just picked up his 21st career win on the PGA Tour, where he plans to continue playing.

"Because in my opinion it's the right thing to do," McIlroy said. "The PGA Tour was created by people and tour players that came before us, the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer. They created something and worked hard for something, and I hate to see all the players that came before us and all the hard work that they've put in just come out to be nothing."

World number one Jon Rahm acknowledges fans after putting to tie the course record and take share of the third-round lead in the PGA Tour Tournament of Champions Jon Rahm acknowledges fans after putting to tie the course record and take share of the third-round lead in the PGA Tour Tournament of Champions Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / Gregory Shamus