Dustin Johnson Joins Area for League Trying to Rival the PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson, who in February pledged his loyalty to the US-based PGA Tour, would be the top-ranked golfer within the inaugural occasion of a Saudi-backed rival tour subsequent week on the Centurion Golf Membership exterior London. Phil Mickelson, who not too long ago expressed some measure of help for the choice circuit, was not amongst these listed within the area for the event.

Mickelson’s absence is a gentle shock, though there have been nonetheless six spots accessible on Tuesday, so he may change his thoughts. Johnson’s inclusion is a breach within the broad solidarity expressed by the PGA Tour’s elite males’s golfers over the past six months.

Johnson, 37 and ranked thirteenth on this planet, was one in all 42 gamers listed within the area for the primary occasion of the LIV Golf Invitational Collection, whose main shareholder is the Public Funding Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. The upstart league affords no-cut tournaments with $25 million in complete prize cash at every, and ensures high gamers tens of millions in look charges no matter their efficiency.

Different gamers within the area have been anticipated, with many — like Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Richard Bland, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter — older than 40. General, whereas there are 16 gamers in subsequent week’s LIV Golf area ranked within the high 100, solely two — Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen — are ranked within the high 30.

The PGA Tour and the established European golf tour have denied releases for member golfers to play in LIV Golf, which is led by the retired main champion Greg Norman. PGA Tour officers have mentioned that these taking part in in any of the breakaway circuit’s tournaments would danger punishment, which may embrace suspensions or a lack of tour membership.

The subsequent step within the conflict could also be in courtroom. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has insisted that the tour’s legal professionals consider any self-discipline handed to golfers who play for the rival tour will face up to authorized scrutiny.

Johnson, a two-time main winner who has collected greater than $74 million in profession earnings from the PGA Tour, mentioned in February that he was “totally dedicated to the PGA Tour.” It was a sentiment echoed by each participant within the high 10, and every of the main golfers in a youthful cohort that dominated the PGA Tour within the final two seasons.

Rory McIlroy, the four-time main champion, referred to as the brand new rival league “lifeless within the water.”

Johnson’s agent, David Winkle, issued an announcement on Tuesday night time: “Dustin has been considering this chance off-and-on for the previous couple of years. In the end, he determined it was in his and his household’s greatest curiosity to pursue it. Dustin has by no means had any problem with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it has given him, however ultimately felt this was too compelling to go up.”

“Free company has lastly come to golf.” Norman mentioned in his personal assertion. “This is a chance to start out a motion that can change the course of historical past by bringing new and open competitors to the game all of us love. The need proven by the gamers to take part in LIV Golf demonstrates their emphatic perception in our mannequin and confidence in what we’re constructing for the longer term.”

The LIV Golf sequence consists of eight occasions from June to October, together with one in Thailand and 5 in the USA. In late July, the host website would be the Trump Nationwide Golf Membership in Bedminster, NJ

Saudi Arabia’s position within the new tour has already induced controversy. Mickelson set off a hailstorm of criticism in February after he acknowledged Saudi Arabia had a “horrible file on human rights” — together with the homicide of a Washington Publish journalist — however mentioned he considered the brand new tour as a “once-in-a-lifetime alternative” to use strain on the PGA Tour to extend participant revenues. Mickelson later mentioned his remarks had been “reckless.”

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