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Golfer Dustin Johnson ‘excited to see’ Saudi-backed rival tour next month

Person, Human, Golf Club
Royal Bank of Canada announced Johnson as a brand ambassador in February 2018 when he was ranked number one in the world. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Johnson’s loyalty is currently with the PGA Tour but the twice major winner said on Wednesday that he is excited to see what the upstart LIV World Golf Invitational Series could do for the sport.

For the moment the Saudi-backed venture has proven only disruptive as it attempts to poach players from the established PGA and DP (European) Tours, tempting defectors with massive prize purses like the $25 million up for grabs at next month’s series opener in the Centurion Club outside London.

The eight-stop tour will offer total prize money of $255 million. With the PGA Tour having threatened member players with suspensions and fines if they join the breakaway circuit, it is uncertain what the field at the Centurion Club will look like.

Johnson, reportedly a top recruiting target for the series, will be watching.

“I think golf is in a good spot, and I think what they’re doing is — could potentially be good for the game of golf,” Johnson said during his PGA Championship press conference on Wednesday.

“I’m excited to see what happens here in a few weeks. I’ll be watching.”

Johnson’s enthusiasm stands in contrast to the muted response of many of the other top players paraded through the PGA Championship press room.

The more prevailing attitude was expressed by Rory McIlroy, who said on Tuesday he was sick of talking about the LIV series and wanted it over.

Another common sentiment was repeated by Jordan Spieth, who like most of his fellow golfers believes it simply comes down to an individual choice.

“The Saudi league, or the LIV league, everybody can do what they want to do,” said Spieth, who can complete a career Grand Slam if he can walks off with the PGA Championship Wanamaker trophy on Sunday. “No players are standing in any players’ way.

“If they want to go, go. I love where I’m at. I’ve been saying that for a long time.”