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The proposed Saudi-funded Saudi Golf League received a major blow Sunday morning when Dustin Johnson said he was “completely committed” to the PGA Tour.
Johnson added his name to a growing list of top golfers who said they were not interested in getting a guaranteed fortune from the “Super League Golf,” backed by Greg Norman and his LIV Golf Investments.
Each of the eight best players in the world, who have now been asked, has indicated that they do not plan to register in a league supported by Saudi Arabia. This does not include some other golfers who have stated that they are not interested, such as Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spit.
Johnson, a two-time major champion who has spent more time at No. 1 in the world than any of the current players – he is now at No. 6 – has been silent about his intentions over the past few months, leading to speculation that he would join.
“I feel it’s time to stop such assumptions. I’m completely committed to the PGA Tour,” he said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to play in the best tour in the world and for all that she has given me and my family.”
Like some other players, Johnson said there are areas where the PGA Tour can “improve and evolve.”
Rory McIlroy, Koepka and world number one John Ram were among the first to abandon a competing tour at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago, and they doubled their support this week at Genesis Invitational, where chatter was loud about what the proposed league is approaching the announcement.
In the last two weeks, he has gained weight because of Phil Mickelson, who is considered the leading player of the new league, but has made comments that make it unclear what the six-time grand champion is actually looking for.
Mickelson accused the PGA Tour of “disgusting greed” in an interview with Golf Digest when he was at Saudi International for a seven-figure fee for appearing.
And then Alan Shipnak, who is writing a biography of Mickelson to be published in the spring, published an excerpt from a November telephone interview in which Mickelson called the Saudis “terrible” and called the PGA tour a “dictatorship.”
Mickelson said the three players paid lawyers to write an operating agreement for the new league. He also said he doesn’t care if the new league succeeds as long as it gives players more leverage in the PGA Tour.
Agents who saw the proposal mentioned some details, such as a schedule that includes as many as 10 events in the U.S., with a new league targeting courses owned by former President Donald Trump.
The British media reported without identifying the sources that Bryson was offered $ 130 for participation (DeShambo went on social media to say only that it was “wrong”), and Ian Polter was offered $ 30 million.
At the Saudi International, where he was the reigning champion, Johnson was asked if he was offered something similar.
“No, it doesn’t,” Johnson said with a laugh, indicating he was much bigger.
McIlroy, the first to reject the new league, saying he wanted to be on the “right side of history”, said this week that it sounded as if the roster for the new league would be a “pre-championship round” of players at the twilight of their careers.
DeChambo will be the only major under-30 champion to consider joining the rival league. He did not make a public statement of support for either side.
Johnson’s announcement concludes the week when leading players made it clear where they stood. McIlroy called it “not very super league.” Ram said his “loyalty” is a PGA tour, and “I think the best legacy I can achieve will be with the PGA Tour.”
Earlier this week, Victor Howland said he wanted to play in the PGA Tour, and all that could change his mind – is when the world’s best players enter the new league.
The 24-year-old Norway, which ranks 4th in the world, has not seen this so far.
“A lot of good players seemed to be expressing their support for the PGA Tour, so it will certainly be a difficult task for other leagues if the best players don’t want to go,” Howland said.
Xander Schaufele, the world’s 7th player, said in an interview on Saturday: “For me, I want to be on the best tour and compete with the best players in the world.” “
He was at Saudi International, which is not part of the proposed league, but was not inclined to join Norman’s group.
Schaufele said he hoped the threat of a new league could lead to the PGA Tour improving its product and possibly making concessions on articles such as media rights.
“After all, all I want is to be part of a better product,” he said.