McIlroy said ahead of the new season that he had been “too judgemental” in his views about players switching to the Saudi-backed circuit, having frequently spoken out in support of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour when it launched in 2022.
Rahm and Hatton are banned from featuring on the PGA Tour for switching to LIV Golf, joining stars like Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.
McIlroy now believes none of those players should be “punished” if they return to any other Tours, a much softer stance than he originally took.
Both Hatton and Rahm have said they would like to continue to play on multiple Tours plus the Ryder Cup if possible in the future and that it is “important” for someone of McIlroy’s calibre to acknowledge that golf is evolving.
Although LIV defectors now have the support of McIlroy, it is not a sentiment shared by the whole of the PGA Tour, Jordan Speith revealing there is “mixed” opinions amongst players.
Rahm also admitted that it was a “difficult process” when he was finalising his move to the LIV Golf League as he had to be involved in the “deep waters” of the negotiations but the reaction to the defection was “as expected”.