Dustin Johnson Has Turned Heel And Is Listed In The Field For The First LIV Golf Event

Shocking. Well… sorta. 

Unless you've been sleeping under Iraq, this has been a long and evolving saga between the PGA Tour and rival golf league "LIV Golf". LIV Golf is considered to be the bad guys. They're directly funded by the Saudi government, who's been labeled by some to be "scary motherfuckers". That's probably an understatement. I won't go too deep into this, but they've got a laundry list of human rights atrocities (including executing American journalists). They've made a habit in recent years of attempting to change the global narrative about their actions by showcasing a variety of premier sporting events, including F1 racing, horse racing, soccer, and most recently golf. It's a practice that's been termed as "sportswashing", and it's considered #bad. 

That's about as much as I can simplify the crux of the issue. Which is ironic, because "simple" is exactly why DJ is the perfect guy to be the face of the LIV Golf Tour. I suppose it's too early to say he's committing to that Tour exclusively and time will tell if that's the case, but this is a bold move by the guy. He may not have a win in the past year plus, but he's still near the top of the world rankings and theoretically still has a lot more PGA Tour quality golf left in the tank. He's putting his status on Tour at significant risk by making the jump here.

The shocking part is that DJ pledged loyalty to the Tour back in February when Phil's comments turned everything upside down. A good handful of other guys followed suit. But maybe that's exactly why we see DJ on the other side. LIV Golf was never going to be legitimized without somebody of DJ's stature. They needed at least one guy like him from the jump, and that was only magnified once every big name originally on the fence bailed on them. The playbook for justifying "sportswashing" is to simply say that you're an athlete and an athlete only and all you're concerned with is being an athlete. I'm not sure there's an athlete better at running that play than one Dustin Johnson. He was the singular guy that the Saudis could throw a gigantic bag at and have faith that he wouldn't open his big fat mouth as they launched their venture.

The number DJ is getting could be astronomical. The bag only got bigger when all the other top tier guys jumped ship. We're potentially talking 9 figures here. I can't really imagine being in the position to be able turn that kind of money down, so it's really hard to completely hammer DJ on this one. He's won $74,276,710 on the PGA Tour over 15 years and has the opportunity to more than double that with one signature on the dotted line, along with juicy prize money in the LIV events he does play. I'd love to sit here and say I'd turn that kind of payday down, but I'd be lying if I said I was sure.

Regardless, DJ has predictably released a statement through his agent and taken the high road regarding the PGA Tour.


It'll be fascinating where things go from here. Is he off the Tour? RBC's gotta be gone (yep… confirmed) as one of his biggest sponsors considering he's ditching the RBC Canadian Open to go play that first event. But if he's banned from the Tour, is he out of majors too? Augusta can do what they want, but will they follow suit given his former champion status? And how will he be accepted at the Masters if that's the one "PGA Tour" event he can play?

It's just wild, wild stuff and this is just the beginning. Most the other names on that list aren't surprising by any means. Tons of washed guys from yesteryear getting that one last payday on a glorified Champions Tour. The one that really surprises me is Talor Gooch, who has really cemented himself as a Top 50 golfer this year. But I'm fascinated to see how the dominoes fall from here. Time will tell, and this just might be the beginning.

PS: DJ is listed as one of the guys to be featured on the PGA Tour Netflix documentary. THAT has potential to be SPICY