Why news of Dustin Johnson shouldn’t come as a huge surprise

Dustin Johnson will be on the field at the first LIV Golf event in London next week.

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Dustin Johnson He is a man of few words – at least he takes part in press conferences – but that does not mean that there are no knowledge and insights into what he has to say.

Take, for example, this quote from Johnson Win a week in the 2020 Masters, when asked about his desire to chase more major titles. Johnson said he undoubtedly still had a lot of burn in him, but added, “My goal is to play for, I don’t know, shorter than that, but eight or nine or maybe 10 years, and then spend time with my kids” and Paulina.”

It would be Paulina Gretzky, Johnson’s then fiancée and Now the wife. If you follow either of them on social media, you know they both lead A full and active life together: Skiing, boating, flutes at 30,000 feet, chilling at home with their two young sons, Tatum and River. And of course hunting, a passion that Johnson inherited from his grandfather and father during his youth in South Carolina.

Dustin Johnson will play in the first LIV event.

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The point is that DJ loves to live. He has other interests beyond simply hitting a ball dipped in a lane. This does not mean that he is not in a hurry to compete against the best golfers in the world. Or he is not motivated to win more majors. he is. But that means he doesn’t let golf know him. And we’re unlikely to see him sign scorecards at Cologuard Classic (with a pool of over 50). And that, to some extent, however, Johnson, 37, is using the game as a means to an end: a path to a next stage in his life where he can escape the stress of being on the road for 20 weeks. general.

That’s why LIV Golf’s impressive payouts, combined with a reduced schedule, are so enticing to Johnson, who told us on Tuesday, He will be the most popular player in the 1st event of the rookie round In London next week (except for a late commitment from Phil Mickelson).

recently in february, Johnson said That he was “fully committed to the PGA Tour,” which tells you that he either wasn’t honest or the decision to jump ship wasn’t an easy one for him. It is not difficult to imagine the latter. After all, he’s made over $74 million in earnings during his touring career, and a few friends along the way too. But it looks like Johnson eventually found the promise of $25 million in purses and who knows how many extra signing bonuses it would be too tempting to resist.

“Dustin has been thinking about this for the past two years and has decided it is in his and his family’s best interests to pursue it,” Johnson’s agent, David Winkle, said Tuesday evening in a statement, shortly after the field roster for the London event was released. . “He’s never had an issue with the PGA Tour and is grateful for everything they gave him, but in the end he felt this was too compelling to miss.”

So what now? The questions are endless and many without answers.

Rory McIlroy addressed the media on Wednesday at the Memorial Tournament.

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The PGA Tour has said it will suspend any player who crosses party lines and enters a LIV event, but for how long and when will these suspensions be in effect? And does entering more than one LIV contest mean an additional comment? The tour also said it would consider imposing a lifetime ban on dissidents. Will she really continue that threat and fire one of her best players of the last decade and former world number 1? Will the four majors – operated by Augusta National, PGA of America, USGA, and R&A – align with the Tour and bar LIV participants from their fields? Would any of this be legal?

What about Johnson’s sponsors? Johnson will not be on the field at next week’s Canadian Open. This is notable because the company that has paid Johnson for years to wear its logo on his shirt sleeve – the Royal Canadian Bank – also happens to be the main sponsor of the Canadian Open. The same goes for another player sponsored by RBC, Graeme McDowell. On Tuesday, RBC released a statement that said, in part, “We have recently learned that Dustin Johnson has made the decision to play the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series. DJ has been a valued member of the RBC team since 2018. While we are deeply disappointed in his decision, we wish him well.” .

Wednesday, Sportico . reported that RBC has officially cut ties with both Johnson and McDowell.

Will Johnson’s other supporters follow suit? Among them: Adidas, BodyArmor, Hublot, NetJets, Perfect Practice and TaylorMade. We’ve seen it happen with other players. Mickelson lost endorsement deals after publicizing his comments about his dealings with LIV Golf. UPS recently ended their 14-year partnership with Lee Westwood, who was also a supporter of the new league and is on the field for the London event.

Questions, questions and more questions.

Johnson was asked about LIV Golf two weeks ago at PGA Championship He said, “I think what they’re doing could be good for the game of golf. I’m excited to see what happens here in a few weeks.”

“Excited meaning?” Follow the reporter.

“I’ll be watching,” Johnson said.

Play, too, as it turns out.

Alain Bastable

Alain Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As the Executive Editor of GOLF.com, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and popular news and service sites. He wears many hats—editing, writing, thinking, developing, daydreaming for a day breaking 80’s—and feels privileged to work with an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Prior to taking over at GOLF.com, he was the Feature Editor at GOLF Magazine. He graduated from the University of Richmond and Columbia College of Journalism, and lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.