New Golf Leaf Series | Golden Bridge for Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson didn’t have a twisted arm to turn their backs on the PGA in favor of the new LIV Golf Series. Basically, why? for dollars. Where they number hundreds of millions.

Posted at 6:00 AM

Nicholas Richard

Nicholas Richard

The PGA Tour until very recently had a monopoly on golf not only in America, but also everywhere on the surface of the globe.

This was true until a group of Saudi investors decided to move the cage. Truth be told, they have chosen to take in the best that the PGA Tour has to offer: its players.

The first tournament in the LIV Golf Series takes place this weekend in London. Johnson and Mickelson are the most popular and controversial names.

money issue

The LIV Golf series frightened very few people a few months ago. No one believed that the new circuit, with new rules and who would dare challenge the PGA Tour, would be able to attract the big names. However, things quickly changed. The huge money outweighed many players who were tempted.

When former world number one and 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson announced he would be part of the Saudi adventure, the golf world was shaken.

According to various sources, he was going to sign an agreement of about $150 million, fully guaranteed, and that’s even before he hits a single ball. Meanwhile, Mickelson is expected to receive close to $200 million. Except that although the pillars of the temple shook, it did not collapse.

Photo by Adrien Denis, AFP

Phil Mickelson

“There are golfers who are only motivated by money and there are others, who are more fundamentalist, passionate about the history of the PGA Tour, like Tiger [Woods] or Rory [McIlroy]. While Phil Mickelson or Dustin Johnson does it for the money, Johan Benson, a Le Mirage golf pro and RDS analyst, explains.

McIlroy and Woods also declined nine-figure offers of loyalty for the PGA Tour.

“Dustin Johnson is not a player to hang out with other guys. He does his little business with his wife Paulina and her family. He is more than aloof,” he adds.

His colleague Jean-Sebastien Legari, an analyst at RDS and 91.9 Sports, agrees: “It doesn’t surprise me that Dustin made this decision, not because he’s a bad guy, but because he’s always preferred to take care of himself first.”

He doesn’t care what other people think.

Jean-Sebastien Legari, Analyst at RDS and 91.9 Sports, on Dustin Johnson

Elsewhere, the Royal Bank of Canada, which sponsored Johnson for nearly 15 years, cut its ties to his former glory. The first tournament in the LIV Golf Series will take place at the same time as the RBC Canadian Open. As an RBC athlete, Johnson was obligated to participate, which of course he wouldn’t. This is why the bank has permanently cut ties with him.

Join Taylor Meade, OEM, Johnson Journalismbut he will not comment on the situation.

Other players with impressive careers have formalized their membership in the new circuit, including Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Kevin Poulter and Sergio Garcia. according to Daily Telegraph.

However, the first observation remains that the caliber is low and for the majority of players on the list the best is the best.

PGA in danger?

The LIV Golf Series has eight tournaments scheduled. “We talk about the event in London, but there are five of eight events in the US. When it comes to America, will more players want to join in? Asks Jean-Sébastien Légaré.

The grants are also likely to affect players who have been hesitant until now.

Twenty million dollars will be distributed in each tournament. The winner will receive $4 million and the last winner of the ranking will receive $120,000. Not to mention the participation bonuses for star players and bonuses of $18 million, $8 million and $4 million for whoever finished the season on the podium in the general classification.

Stunning sums can scare a PGA: “It’s like going to court and you’re up against an opponent who has big pockets and money isn’t an issue, and that’s definitely something to be taken seriously,” emphasizes Yohann Benson.

The circuit led by former superstar Greg Norman has 48 players and each session is played over three rounds, with no cuts, so all players are guaranteed to be paid. Departures are done in a “gun” manner, that is, there will be departures at each hole to speed up the game.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has yet to react. There are rumors that players who participate in the Saudi arena could be punished, suspended or banned for life. A risk that pays off, from all points of view, for some golfers.

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