Star golfer Dustin Johnson has told the PGA Tour to go pound sand and will join the new Trump-backed LIV Golf league instead.
According to multiple media reports, Johnson was reportedly paid around $125 million to join the Saudi Arabia-funded competitor to the PGA.
Johnson’s decision to leave the PGA Tour caused one of his sponsors, the Royal Bank of Canada, to dump him.
The PGA is mounting a full-court press to persuade top golfers to stay.
“Dustin’s been contemplating this for the past two years and decided it was in his and his family’s best interest to pursue it,” Johnson’s agent David Winkle said.
“He’s never had any issue with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it’s given him but in the end felt this was too compelling to pass up.”
“As a result of the decisions made by professional golfers Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener, RBC is terminating its sponsorship agreement with both players,” the company said in a statement.
“RBC is a proud partner of the PGA Tour.
“Our partnership is anchored with two world-class golf tournaments—the RBC Heritage and the RBC Canadian Open.
“The PGA Tour has been clear about its intentions in accordance with its tournament regulations should a golfer choose to play in a tournament outside the tour, including the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
“We wish them well in their future endeavors.”
“We were recently made aware that Dustin Johnson made the decision to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener,” RBC said earlier.
“DJ has been a valued RBC team member since 2018.
“While we are extremely disappointed in his decision, we wish him well.”
Other leading golfers making the move include Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Kevin Na, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, and Talor Gooch.
Shortly after Trump backed the new league, the PGA of America announced last year they were yanking a major tournament from Trump’s club in Bedminster.
“The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster,” said Jim Richerson, PGA of America President.
The LIV will host an event at Trump National Doral, Miami, USA.
The full list of events in the LIV series is below:
- 9-11 June: Centurion Golf Club – London, England
- 1-3 July: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club – Portland, USA
- 29-31 July: Trump National Golf Club Bedminster – New Jersey, USA
- 2-4 September: The International – Boston, USA
- 16-18 September: Rich Harvest Farms – Chicago, USA
- 7-9 October: Stonehill Golf Club – Bangkok, Thailand
- 14-16 October: Royal Greens Golf Club – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- 27-30 October: Team Championship, Trump National Doral, Miami, USA
24-time PGA Tour winner reportedly paid over $100 million to join rival Saudi-backed golf tour https://t.co/mVxEw2cz7c
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 1, 2022