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#pounditTuesday, October 4, 2022

Dustin Johnson defies PGA Tour for Saudi-backed LIV Golf event

Dustin Johnson smiling

Sep 15, 2020; Mamaroneck, New York, USA; Dustin Johnson smiles on the eleventh green during a practice round for the 2020 U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club – West. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The list of participants in next week’s Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational was released on Tuesday night, and it contains big-time PGA Tour names. Perhaps none of the names were bigger than Dustin Johnson, a two-time major champion.

Other players in the field included Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel.

One notable name not on the list was Phil Mickelson. Mickelson received a ton of backlash following his negative remarks about the Tour earlier this year.

Many players on the PGA Tour had released statements affirming their commitment to staying on the Tour in response to Mickelson, including Johnson.

“I am fully committed to the PGA Tour,” Johnson said in a statement released in February. “I am grateful for the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and for all it has provided me and my family. While there will always be areas where our Tour can improve and evolve, I am thankful for our leadership and the many sponsors who make the PGA Tour golf’s premier tour.”

Earlier this month, the Tour announced that it would deny waivers to players seeking to compete in LIV Golf events.

A memo to members read, “As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players.”

Johnson and the other Tour players are potentially risking a loss of membership by competing next week.

The LIV Golf Invitational will take place at the Centurion Club in London from June 9-11. The tournament offers $25 million in prize money that is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

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