While Hatton has previously been reluctant to switch for fear of dropping out of the world’s top 50 and missing out on featuring in future majors, an improved offer reported to be worth £50m has tempted him.
The 32-year-old had entered this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour, but will now contest the Saudi-funded breakaway’s first event of 2024 in Mayakoba.
Hatton is joined on Rahm’s Legion XIII team by former top amateur Caleb Surratt and Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent, who won his place via the LIV Golf Promotions event.
“I’m really excited for this next chapter, to link up with Jon Rahm and Legion XIII and to get started this week in Mexico,” Hatton said.
Hatton and Rahm won both of their matches together in last year’s Ryder Cup in Rome, the fiery characters earning the nickname of “Team Angry” as they helped Luke Donald’s European side regain the trophy.
Hatton’s defection will therefore be of huge concern to Donald as he attempts to spearhead a first Ryder Cup win on away soil since 2012 at Bethpage next year.
As things stand, Hatton will be eligible to qualify or receive a wild card as long as he remains a DP World Tour member, which requires him to play in four regular tournaments per season.
He will also earn points towards qualification through major championships, but faces fines and suspensions for playing in LIV tournaments without the required “conflicting event” releases from the DP World Tour.
Includes reporting from PA