With the waters calm after Jon Rahm's signing for the LIV circuit, the future of golf awaits a date: December 31, 2023. There are barely hours left for the two blocs, the PGA Tour and LIV, to certify or not the agreement. It will be the first stone of the new order or the beginning of chaos. The Americans and the Saudis are doomed to understand each other, but the PGA Tour has not yet seen any of the demands coming from Saudi Arabia, even if they are watered with millions and Rahm.

The maximum pressure is on the side of the Americans. It's a tense few days in Jacksonville, Florida, where the PGA Tour offices seem closed for the holidays, but commissioner Jay Monahan spends hours locked in his office. Rahm's departure, they say, was an unexpected crochet on the chin. But after the initial shock, the American circuit is struggling to regain its guard. The agreement with the American investment fund Strategic Sports Group (SSG) would be closed pending signature and the circuit hopes to rearm itself and not depend on the millions of the Saudis.

One of the many problems for the American circuit is that it is no longer a pineapple. Players are wary of their commissioner's management. A group of 21 modest members of the PGA Tour have hired a lawyer to get into the details of the negotiation in which they feel outside. Just a few days ago, the Norwegian Viktor Hovland, fourth in the world, one of those tempted by LIV, made his position very clear: "They see the players on the circuit as a workforce and not as members. We are the PGA Tour and it is clear that without the players there would be no circuit."

Nothing will ever be the same

Yankee commissioner Monahan needs aces up his sleeve in a delicate financial situation. In recent months, the PGA Tour has drawn on its own reserve funds to inject millions of dollars into its tournaments and thus prevent a disbandment of the great players to LIV Golf. There were eight tournaments that went from $15 million to $25 million in prize money, plus an extra $145 million to boost games in the FedEx Cup, the Comcast Top10 or the Player Impact Program that decides how much to give out to the best players of the year at the PGA.

Whatever happens, nothing will ever be the same for the circuit. Monahan's days are numbered and, in addition to the distrust of the players, we must add that of loyal sponsors such as Honda and Wells Fargo, who have announced their departure. There has been little positive news for the PGA in recent times, if at all the commitment of Tiger Woods, who in the offices stepped up as one of the director of players on the tour and on the course offers signs of improvement to keep the tournaments interesting.

The lack of Saudi signings

The situation is complicated in the United States, but the other side cannot be carried away by euphoria either. The signing of Rahm was a coup d'état, but so far it has not been accompanied by new signings. In the last few months everything has been negative. Spaniard Adri Arnaus could be the fifth Spaniard to be part of LIV Golf and join Rahm's new team, although nothing is official. From LIV the strategy is clear: silence and dollars. After the stellar appearance in New York on the day of his signing, Rahm has not spoken again, nor have his tour mates, and the offers to the stars of world golf continue.

First there was the attempt to sign Tony Finau to LIV, then the siren calls to Hovland, and talks are still going on with a number of players, including Australian Adam Scott, one of the directors of the PGA Tour's player committee. His departure would be high treason.

Golf will decide its future in these hours before 2024, although the negotiation deadline could be extended by a few more weeks. In the meantime, we will only have to wait until February to see Jon Rahm compete again, even if it is in a multimillion-dollar 'pachanga' of the LIV Golf in Mayakoba (Mexico), precisely the same place where the PGA Tour gave him the first opportunity.