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Big Names Distance Themselves From Proposed Saudi Super League

Major names Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have restated their commitment to the PGA tour, distancing themselves from a proposed Saudi-backed Super League. The two players, the biggest names associated with the proposed new league, had both shown some dissatisfaction with the PGA Tour, but now it looks as if the project fronted by former world number one Greg Norman may be, in the words of Rory McIlroy, ‘dead in the water’.

Former world number one Dustin Johnson, 37, won the the Saudi International tournament twice and had been closely linked with the proposed league. But after his statement reaffirming his commitment to teh PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy said “Who’s left? Who’s left to go? I mean, there’s no one. It’s dead in the water in my opinion. I just can’t see any reason why anyone would go.

“No one really knew where Bryson stood. I was really glad to see DJ and Bryson put out those statements this week. We all want to play against the best players in the world and they’re certainly two of the best players in the world.”

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Banned

The decision of Johnson and DeChambeau must have been influenced by the prospect of being banned from PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Ryder Cup events. Dustin Johnson said he was fully committed to the PGA Tour, adding: “Over the past several months, there has been a great deal of speculation about an alternative tour; much of which seems to have included me and my future in professional golf.

“I feel it is now time to put such speculation to rest. I am grateful for the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and for all it has provided me and my family.

“While there will always be areas where our tour can improve and evolve, I am thankful for our leadership and the many sponsors who make the PGA Tour golf’s premier tour.”

it was rumoured that Bryson DeChambeau had been offered more than $100m to be the figurehead for the Saudi-backed league, but soon after Dustin Johnson’s statement, he also distanced himself from the project in statements on social media.

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“While there has been a lot of speculation surrounding my support for another tour, I want to make it very clear that as long as the best players in the world are playing the PGA Tour, so will I,” DeChambeau said.

“As of now, I am focused on getting myself healthy and competing again soon. I appreciate all the support.”

Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell are also thought to have had offers to join the Saudi league, with Phil Mickelson calling it “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates”, and adding “The Tour likes to pretend it’s a democracy, but it’s really a dictatorship.”

Doubt

But the departure of Johnson and DeChambeau must put the whole project in serious doubt. Other major players including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas have already turned down offers, though at one stage it was claimed that more than 20 leading players had already signed up. Rory McIlroy criticised Phil Mickelson’s comments about the PGA, saying “I don’t want to kick someone while he’s down obviously, but I thought they were naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant.

“It was just very surprising and disappointing, sad. I’m sure he’s sitting at home sort of rethinking his position and where he goes from here.”

Phil Mickelson is currently taking a break from the game after what he lated admitted were ‘reckless’ comments on Saudi Arabia’s regime.

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