Adding Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf strengthens the challenge on the PGA Tour
Just a week ago, the imminent debut of LIV Golf felt something humorous.
“I definitely don’t think there’s anything like jumping up and down the field,” said PGA Tour star Rory McIlroy.
Regarding the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament, McIlroy said, “Look at the stadium this week. Look at the stadium in Canada next week. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. “
Indeed, for the debut LIV golf event the field leaves something to be desired. With the exception of superstars Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, there is a significant absence of high-level talent preparing to make it to London this week.
In addition to Johnson, there are currently only three players in the top 40 in the world – Luis Osthuizen, Kevin Na and Taylor Gooch – who will be among the contestants.
But in the weeks since McIlroy’s comments, LIV Golf has undoubtedly strengthened its hand.
While the 48-player field at Centurion Club has not yet been filled with strong hitters this weekend, even bigger names seem to be on the way. PGA Tour fan favorite Ricky Fowler, who was once number four but is now at number 145, is rumored to be signing an upstart series bankrolled by the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund. And on Wednesday, multiple reports suggested that the two biggest hitters on the PGA Tour – Bryson DeChambeu and Patrick Reed – will be heading to LIV Golf in time to play in the second event of his schedule.
Bryson DeChambeau reacts to a shot of the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
“Bryson has always been an innovator,” Brett Folkof, Dechambu’s agent, told ESPN. “It’s always been exciting for him to have the opportunity to go to something unique. As professional golf we know it’s changing and it’s happening fast.”
One of DeChambu’s reasons for being interested in the new league may be innovation, but the other is cash for him and for every other player on the field.
The purse is worth $ 25 million at this week’s London event, the winner of the event will receive $ 4 million. By comparison, like PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, this year’s Masters Green Jacket winner Scottie Schaffler took home 2.7 million for his endeavor.
Further, looking at any non-cut aspect of LIV golf, every player who shows up is guaranteed to leave with a salary, the last place still earning $ 120,000 for 54 holes of golf. Given that every PGA tour event goes home empty handed after missing a half field cut, it’s easy to watch a draw of the LIV golf course.
Neither DeChambeau nor Reed rank at the top of the most popular players on the PGA Tour, but Reese’s reputation as Bryson’s bombing drive and stimulant, both attracted a lot of attention whenever and wherever they hit the course.
DeChambeu’s departure comes just months after Johnson pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour in the wake of Phil Mickelson’s controversial remarks that almost paved the way for the launch of a new league.
“While there is a lot of speculation surrounding my support for the second tour, I want to make it clear that as long as the best players in the world are playing the PGA Tour, I will be there,” DeChambeu said at the time. “So far, I’ve been focusing on getting myself healthy and competing again soon. I appreciate everyone’s support.”
While the world’s best players are still playing on the PGA Tour – four of the world’s top 10 players will play in this week’s RBC Canadian Open, while none of the top 10 has yet committed to LIV golf – the more prominent players jump, the easier it will be for others to justify the same move. There is strength in numbers.
Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. The series is backed by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund, the sixth-largest sovereign wealth fund with an estimated total assets of $ 620 billion.
The initiative is seen as primarily an exercise in sportswashing – the Saudi government has sought to tarnish its image by aligning it with high-profile sports competitions enjoyed by fans around the world.
Several players, including Mickelson and Johnson, have already lost sponsorship deals due to their association with the new league.
Players have also struggled to answer questions about the Saudi government’s involvement in LIV golf. Prior to this week’s debut event, many players were stuck searching for words to justify their presence on the breakaway tour.
“I do not condone human rights abuses,” Mickelson said Wednesday. “I know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and it’s terrible.”
Asked if he would play in a tournament hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ian Polter said, “Guess, I won’t even comment on the speculation.”