Sports

Dustin Johnson defecting to Saudi rebel series will send shiver down spine of the PGA Tour

As such, what actually sticks in the craw is the suggestion by Johnson’s agent, David Winkle, that the Saudi project was in “his and his family’s best interest to pursue”. We have heard this risible self-justification earlier than. Garcia, outraged at the European Tour’s refusal to grant him an exemption to compete in Saudi Arabia this year, lamented: “They have to understand that we are trying to achieve things for our families.” You would have thought the Spaniard was on the breadline, not the former proprietor of two personal jets with a life-style of supreme opulence in Switzerland and Orlando.

With a journeyman equivalent to Richard Bland, who has grafted for many years on tour for valuable little glory, you’ll be able to maybe perceive the rationale for leaping ship. But what of anyone like Lee Westwood? There aren’t any cheap grounds to recommend that Westwood, at 49, wants his stability topping up. He leads the European Tour’s all-time money listing, with a internet value estimated at £35 million. In a match of drunken rage after falling quick at the 2013 USPGA, he taunted one detractor by asking: “Have you seen what’s parked in my garage?”

For the high gamers signing up, this isn’t some noble campaign to assist improve the incomes potential of these struggling additional down the rankings. It is merely the distinction between having the ability to afford 10 supercars or 20. Westwood, who has cultivated a popularity as a straight-talking sort, is completely at liberty to admit this. Instead, when requested about his transfer eventually month’s British Masters, he sought refuge in feeble whataboutery, at one level even praising the Saudis for his or her tempo of reform. “Lots of countries around the world have got issues, and they’re trying to improve,” he shrugged.

Nobody disputes that Westwood and his ilk are entitled to take the money. But equally, their critics are completely entitled to view it as an act of avarice that stains their popularity. The behaviour of Johnson, reneging on guarantees simply 14 weeks after giving the PGA Tour his phrase, is of a chunk with the ethical void at the coronary heart of this Saudi enterprise.

Back to top button