PGA Tour suspends players participating in LIV Golf series
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Bryson DeChambeau agreed to join LIV Golf this week – and the fee being reported means the spending by the controversial Saudi-backed golf league has surpassed £500 million headlined by the signatures of the 2020 US Open champion, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. DeChambeau and compatriot Patrick Reed have become the latest stars to join LIV Golf, which has threatened to divide the sport.
The controversial LIV Golf series made its anticipated debut at The Centurion Club in St Albans this weekend, with the likes of Mickelson, Johnson and Sergio Garcia headlining a ragtag field. Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, secured a one-stroke victory and a £3.86 million payout with a one-stroke victory.
The Saudi-backed LIV series is the most lucrative golf tournament in history. Its $25million (£20million) prize dwarfs the £7million on offer at the Canadian Open, which also got underway on Thursday. Rory McIlroy – who has openly criticised those going to take part in the breakaway tour – currently leads as he looks to defend his title.
The acquisition of DeChambeau could prove to be crucial, with more big-name stars surely set to be enticed into leaving the PGA Tour. According to PGA Tour insider Daniel Rapaport, DeChambeau is said to be receiving in excess of nine figures to join LIV Golf.
“No surprise here, but source says Bryson DeChambeau is getting over $100,000,000 guaranteed to join LIV Golf,” Rapaport tweeted. “The Saudi-backed league have paid somewhere between $400 and $500million for Bryson, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.”
Mickelson reportedly was offered $200million simply to show up, while Johnson – the 2020 Masters champion – signed with LIV Golf for $150million.
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More players are reportedly set to be unveiled ahead of LIV Golf’s second tournament in Portland, which begins on 30 June. The series then visits New Jersey, Boston and Chicago.
These legs will be crucial in figuring out how LIV Golf has been accepted, as these sites are traditional American heartlands for golf. It will be intriguing to see how such a fanbase, who grew up feasting on PGA Tour action, responds to the controversial series.
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