Dustin Johnson, considered one of golf’s richest stars, has made an abrupt U-turn to be a part of the controversial mega-money Saudi Arabia-backed golf league.
Johnson, a two-time main champion now No 13 on this planet, is the highest-ranked participant and jewel within the crown of a discipline that presently contains 26 of the highest 150 gamers on this planet.
He has cast a profitable and profitable career on the PGA Tour, banking £59m and is third on the checklist of finest paid golfers ever by way of prize money behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
But Johnson, who has not been granted permission to depart and will now face a ban from the tour, cited his household’s finest pursuits in allying with the insurgent group.
Both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour have just lately declined all requests from members who had requested for releases to compete at Centurion for the primary occasion, the place a whopping £19.8m is up for grabs, together with £3.1m for the winner.
The PGA Tour occasion working similtaneously the primary Saudi competitors is the Canadian Open, providing prize money of £6.9m and the winner is anticipated to money in round £1.1m.
Johnson beforehand insisted he was ‘absolutely committed’ to the PGA Tour in February, so his change of coronary heart will come as a shock and disappointment to many followers.
The 37-year-old’s supervisor David Winkle mentioned: ‘Dustin has been considering the chance off-and-on for the previous couple of years. Ultimately, he determined it was in his and his household’s finest curiosity to pursue it.
Dustin Johnson is arguably the largest title to be joining the Saudi Arabia-backed golf league, fronted by CEO Greg Norman (left), who hailed the arrival of free company within the sport
Johnson, pictured along with his spouse Paulina Gretzky, is the third finest paid golfer ever
The former world No 1 made a U-turn on his choice to play on the PGA Tour
‘Dustin has by no means had any subject with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it has given him, however ultimately, felt this was too compelling to move up.’
He is joined by ex-major champion Sergio Garcia they usually have been introduced amongst opponents for the opening LIV Golf Invitational Series occasion that didn’t embody Phil Mickelson.
While six-time main champion Mickelson was not presently on the sphere checklist, he might nonetheless tee it up June Sept. 11 on the Centurion Club exterior London as six spots within the 48-player occasion stay open.
Among the opposite notables included are former world quantity ones Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, in addition to European Ryder Cup veteran Ian Poulter.
The ultimate six gamers will probably be introduced at a later date, LIV Golf mentioned.
‘Free company has lastly come to golf,’ mentioned LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman.
‘This is a chance to begin a motion that may 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.’
Johnson, pictured right here amongst associates and former US president Donald Trump, is the best ranked participant and jewel within the crown of the breakaway competitors
Organisers of the Canadian Open mentioned they have been dissatisfied with Johnson, who was anticipated to play in Toronto and is an envoy for RBC, the title sponsors of the event.
‘Together with our companions at RBC, we’re dissatisfied to be taught at this late stage that Dustin Johnson has made the choice to play the LIV Golf occasion,’ they mentioned in an announcement.
‘As a previous RBC Canadian Open champion, Canadian golf followers have been wanting ahead to DJ’s return this year.’
The PGA Tour and DP World Tour didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Paulina is the daughter of arguably the best ever ice hockey participant, Wayne Gretzky
Johnson will be a part of the likes of Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter on the first occasion
Mickelson, in the meantime, has been linked to LIV Golf for months however has been on a self-imposed hiatus from the game since February — even skipping his title defence on the PGA Championship — amid backlash over feedback he made concerning the breakaway tour.
The 51-year-old Mickelson’s public picture took successful when the writer of an unauthorised biography mentioned the American golfer advised him he was keen to look previous Saudi Arabia’s human rights file to achieve financial leverage over the PGA Tour.
It is unknown whether or not these competing within the profitable breakaway circuit’s first occasion, which is being held reverse the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open — the place the winner will get £1.25m from an £6.9m purse – will face punishment.
Mickelson, who has 45 PGA Tour wins, has not performed on the US -based circuit since January and final competed in early February at an Asian Tour occasion in Saudi Arabia.
Phil Mickelson was slammed for his feedback on Saudi Arabia and is on a self-imposed hiatus
Johnson, who in February mentioned he was ‘absolutely committed’ to the PGA Tour, finally determined the chance was too good to move up, his agent David Winkle advised Golf Channel.
‘Dustin’s been considering this for the previous two years and determined it was in his and his household’s finest curiosity to pursue it,’ Winkle mentioned.
‘He’s by no means had any subject with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it is given him however ultimately felt this was too compelling to move up.’