Never has the veil of secrecy surrounding the champions dinner at the Masters been more important according to Spanish star Jon Rahm.

The confirmed presence of LIV rebels at Augusta National in April means the potential for five former Masters champions who have joined the breakaway tour can play, and attend the dinner.

While golf’s war has simmered it still hovers over the game entering the new season, including in Hawaii where Aussie star Cameron Smith isn’t able to defend his title at the $22 million tournament of champions.

Smith, who is also headed to the Masters, set a record score to defeat Rahm last year, one of five victories in 2022, including the British Open and the Australian PGA, which he won after his defection to Greg Norman’s LIV golf.

Questions about any potential division between PGA Tour players like Rahm, and the LIV players, haven’t gone away as the new season begins.

While Rahm is adamant he “respects their choice” and remains friends with LIV players, he had to concede not everyone feels the same way.

That could mean tension between the likes of Tiger Woods, an outspoken critic of LIV, as well as Aussie Adam Scott and any of the five potential Masters champions on the LIV roster who attend the dinner, including their biggest money signings Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

“One thing I keep going back to, and it’s probably only funny to me, but I think the Masters Champions Dinner’s going to be a little tense compared to how it’s been in the past,” Rahm said in Hawaii.

“So I keep thinking about it because I wish I could be there and just be able to see how things work out. Too bad the U.S. Open doesn’t have one of those.

“Obviously, we’re all curious about how it’s going to work out, but we’re all excited to see what this year’s going to, how it’s going to unfold and how it’s going to play out for everybody.”

Rahm said the players would be coming together again in at least two of the four major championships and would have to learn to get along.

“I think it‘s going to be the same. I mean, I didn’t feel a difference in any of the majors last year,” he said.

“If somebody has a problem with LIV players, they’re just not going to deal with them and that’s about it.

“In my mind, like I’ve said it before, I respect their choice and the ones I was friends with before I’m still going to be friends with, right? It doesn’t change the way I’m going to operate with them.

“So I think a lot of, let’s say, animosity, if there’s any, might be created more by you guys than anything else. I don’t think there’s that much of a problem between players, at least in person, because if there is, they can avoid each other.”

Scott is the only Australian in the limited 39-player field in Hawaii.

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