In a move that has caught everyone by surprise, major winner, Dustin Johnson, was named among those who would be playing at the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational event, which starts later this month. Johnson, who had stated his commitment to the PGA Tour, would be joined by other players, including Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, and more. 51-year-old Phil Mickelson, who had not failed to hide his support for the new event, was not among the players that were announced this week, but he might be among the six that would be announced next week Monday. Mickelson has not played any PGA cement since going on an indefinite break back in February.
World number 13, Johnson is currently the top-ranked player, for now, in the event. But his decision did not come at a great cost. One of his sponsors, the Royal Bank of Canada, announced that they would be severing ties with Johnson on account of his decision to play in the new league. But it gets worse.
Players like Johnson could also face sanctions from the PGA Tour as they were not granted release to play in the event, which holds next week. The PGA had, in February, stated that players who took part in the Saudi-backed events could risk being sanctioned. This is the risk players like Johnson, Westwood, Na, Garcia, Poulter, and the rest of them are willing to take. But it is not for nothing.
The LIV Golf Invitational is offering big prize money, which may be irresistible for players. Each event, including the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational, would have a total prize money of $25 million, and the winner could walk away with as much as $4 million, something that rarely happens on the PGA Tour.
No doubt, the players who will participate in it are willing to risk whatever sanction the PGA enacts for the millions they stand to win.
Written by: Leon Osamor