Brennan: Thank you, Jon Rahm, for Masters win and keeping the green jacket away from a LIV golfer

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Here’s a message from the leaders of men’s golf, especially Augusta National Golf Club, for Spain’s Jon Rahm:

Thank you.

Thank you for winning the Masters so LIV Golf didn’t.

Thank you, they all must be saying, for saving us from ourselves.

Rahm rescued Augusta National from the ignominy of having to put a green jacket on LIV Golf escapee Brooks Koepka, currently suspended by the PGA Tour, who led by four strokes when the day began and ended up losing by four, a massive eight-shot swing in Rahm’s favor.

With his spectacularly steady victorious play over a marathon 30 holes Sunday, Rahm also saved Augusta National from the utter embarrassment of having to place another green jacket on the shoulders of the late-surging Phil Mickelson, in many ways the epitome of the greedy, preposterous world of LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed league that is using men like Koepka and Mickelson to help “sportswash” a laundry list of the kingdom’s atrocities.

Wait, what? Phil? Him?

Jon Rahm reacts on the 18th green after winning the Masters on Sunday.
Yes, Mickelson, the 52-year-old, three-time Masters champion, became the oldest player in history to finish in the top five at a Masters with a surprising seven-under-par 65 in the final round. He was birdieing 18 when Rahm and Koepka were walking down the 10th fairway, posting an eye-popping, red 8-under near the very top of the leaderboard when Rahm at the time was just two better at 10-under. What an interesting development that was.

With Koepka trading shots with Rahm on that back nine for more than two hours, and with Mickelson’s name just hanging out there, as noticeable as a neon sign, and with another LIV man, Patrick Reed, also in the hunt, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman had to be absolutely giddy watching from afar.

(We can only surmise what Norman was doing, and where he was doing it. He was not invited to attend the Masters because of concerns that he would be an unwanted distraction. Ya think?)

Scottie Scheffler sits beside Jon Rahm at the green jacket ceremony as Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley speaks after the final round of The Masters golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Network

But LIV’s presence at the top of the leaderboard meant that basically every third shot being shown in the late afternoon and early evening Sunday on CBS was hit by a LIV golfer. How about that? CBS ended up giving the no-cut, exhibition-style, silly golf tour more publicity than it will ever get itself with its underwhelming TV deal on the CW Network.

When the Masters was over, there were three LIV golfers among the top six finishers. This is the significant issue facing the four men’s majors, each of which has failed to ban LIV golfers from their events, meaning they will end up rolling the dice on the legitimacy of their championships just as the Masters did Sunday.

Let us make no mistake what Koepka, Mickelson, Reed and the other 15 LIV golfers who arrived here have done. They left their regular tour jobs to go into the “sportswashing” business with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the mastermind of the killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, as well as his golf-bro buddies in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the nation responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States and abysmal human rights violations against women and the LGBTQ community.

One golfer who was adamant that he would never leave the PGA Tour for LIV’s fat paychecks is Rahm, the man who held off the LIV charge Sunday.

“Shotgun (start), three days to me is not a golf tournament. No cut. It’s that simple,” Rahm said. “I want to play against the best in the world in a format that’s been going on for hundreds of years.

“I’ve never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons,” he added. “I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. I’ve always been interested in history and legacy, and right now, the PGA Tour has that.”

That man won the Masters Sunday. And because he won, LIV lost. That’s the story. That’s the headline. At the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.