Dustin Johnson Resigns from PGA Tour and Commits to Rival LIV Golf
Dustin Johnson, a two-time main golf champion, surrendered his PGA Tour standing on Tuesday and mentioned that for the quick future he deliberate solely to play in main tournaments and occasions sponsored by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.
Showing at a information convention prematurely of the primary of eight LIV Golf occasions in 2022 that may start Thursday on the Centurion Membership exterior London, Johnson additionally often used phrases like “proper now” and “for now” when describing his resolution to bolt from the PGA Tour.
“For proper now, I’ve resigned my membership on the tour,” mentioned Johnson, who joined the PGA Tour in 2008 and is ranked fifteenth on the planet. He added that he would play the LIV tour, “for now, that’s the plan.”
The breakaway tour headlined by Greg Norman has promised hefty look charges and a format that ensures each entrant six-figure payouts, with 48 gamers competing for $25 million in prize cash in a 54-hole format with no reduce. A report final week in The Telegraph mentioned Johnson was paid $125 million to affix LIV Golf, whose main shareholder is the Public Funding Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia value greater than $600 billion.
Johnson’s PGA Tour resignation might assist him keep away from a suspension or a lifetime ban from the tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan, who has indicated that punishment on that stage was a risk. However to date, the United States-based PGA Tour has remained quiet as Johnson and others, reminiscent of Phil Mickelson, the six-time main champion who has earned greater than $94 million at tour occasions, have signaled that they are going to play on this week’s LIV Golf match. Monahan’s lack of response may be a little bit of institutional timing. PGA Tour gamers usually are not in violation of any of the tour’s rules till they really play in a rival occasion with out permission — and the tour has not given its consent for any gamers requesting to play this week in England.
One factor is definite: Beneath present tips, if Johnson is just not a member of the PGA Tour, he can’t play within the biennial Ryder Cup, a ballyhooed competitors between prime golfers from america and Europe with a historical past that dates to 1927. Johnson has performed within the Ryder Cup 5 occasions, together with final yr when he was undefeated in 5 matches and helped lead america to a dominating victory.
However on Tuesday, at the very least in his thoughts, the door was nonetheless open to play within the upcoming Ryder Cups.
“Clearly all issues are topic to vary,” Johnson mentioned. “Hopefully in some unspecified time in the future, it can change and I’ll be capable of take part. If it doesn’t, nicely, it was one other factor I actually needed to assume lengthy and arduous about. Finally, I made a decision to return to this and play out right here.
“The Ryder Cup is unbelievable and one thing that has undoubtedly meant quite a bit to me. I’m proud to say I’ve represented my nation, and hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to do this once more. However I don’t make the foundations.”
Johnson’s eligibility for main golf championships is just not a certainty, though there was no indication that he could be barred from taking part in in subsequent week’s U.S. Open. He qualifies for a spot within the area in a number of methods, not the least of which being that he gained the championship in 2016. He has additionally certified for subsequent month’s British Open due to his 2020 Masters victory. The Masters title would usually make him welcome on the Masters for a few years to return, in addition to at a fourth main, the P.G.A. Championship, for the following 5 years.
However the Masters is run by Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership, which has proved prior to now that it might make choices independently. The P.G.A. Championship is ruled by the PGA of America. Earlier than that occasion was held final month, the group’s chief govt, Seth Waugh, pledged his loyalty to the established PGA Tour, which he known as a part of golf’s current ecosystem.
“Our bylaws do say that it’s a must to be a acknowledged member of a acknowledged tour so as to be a PGA member someplace, and due to this fact eligible to play,” Waugh mentioned, talking of the P.G.A. Championship.
Requested concerning the different LIV Golf tour, Waugh answered: “We expect the construction of — I don’t know if it’s a league, it’s not a league at this level — however the league construction is considerably flawed.”
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