2024 LIV Golf Mayakoba Preview, Picks & Analysis
LIV Golf’s new season kicks off at Mayakoba this week and the one guarantee is that this time it will get a little more attention than normal - and that’s because it will see Jon Rahm making his debut. This time last year the Spaniard was riding high after making an astonishing start to the PGA Tour season.
He romped to victory at the Tournament of Champions, won the American Express in his next start, should have won the Farmers Insurance Open, finished third at the Phoenix Open, won the Genesis and then claimed The Masters. In what was a quite extraordinary year, the Spaniard also finished second twice, had 10 top-10 finishes and pocketed $16.5m in official prize money, as well as starring for Europe at the Ryder Cup. He then stunned the world of golf by announcing that he was defecting to LIV for a reported $500m.
And he will be joined at Mayakoba by Adrian Meronk, who little over a week ago was battling with Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic. Meronk is a three-time winner on the DP World Tour and narrowly missed out on an automatic place on Europe’s Ryder Cup team. He was widely expected to be given a wild card but Luke Donald gave the nod to Ludvig Aberg, an unproven rookie who went on to star at Marco Simone.
Unsurprisingly, Meronk was furious at the snub and was linked with a move to LIV in the aftermath of Rahm’s departure.
However, at the time he distanced himself from LIV. He had gained one of 10 PGA Tour cards and widely expected to spend 2024 trying to make his mark in America. He even posted a video to celebrate the fact - and received a good luck message from fellow Pole Jerzy Dudek, the former Liverpool goalkeeper.
He was due to make his PGA Tour debut at the Farmers Insurance Open but was a late withdrawal and the reason for that soon became clear - LIV had made him a better offer. It would be a surprise if Rahm and Meronk do not feature heavily in Mexico this week.
And now the world of golf has woken up to the news that Tyrrell Hatton has joined LIV just in time for the league's new season.
If Rahm does face a problem it is the fact that, like so many of his fellow LIV golfers, he could well be pretty ring rusty. He hasn’t played a competitive round of golf since the DP World Tour Championship and no matter how hard he has been working on the practice ground it is impossible to replicate competitive conditions. And that is why I expect Meronk to make a flying start to his LIV career - because he has already been at the sharp end this season.
They will be back in action the following week in Las Vegas.
The usual suspects such as Talor Gooch, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Bryson DeChambeau will also be expected to contend.
El Cameleon was designed by Greg Norman and sits on the Riviera Maya, near Cancun. It measures 7,039 yards and is a par 70. Part of it has bene carved through mangroves while much of it meanders through sand dunes.
All eyes will be on Jon Rahm as he make his LIV debut and he will surely feature in the final shake-up. But Adrian Meronk will arrive in Mexico in form after a fine display at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Adrian Meronk. Hugely impressive
Jon Rahm. All eyes will be on the Spaniard
Brooks Koepka. Back to his brilliant best
Five to Follow:
Adrian Meronk. Feels he has a point to prove
Jon Rahm. Has no weaknesses
Brooks Kopeka. Fabulous ball striker
Talor Gooch. Stole the show in 2023
Cameron Smith. Looking to recapture his breathtaking 2022 form
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