DeChambeau and Reed join LIV Golf Invitational Series: Who are the top players that commited?
Battle lines have been drawn between the PGA and the LIV, but it’s not stopping more and more players from making the risky jump across the divide.
All eyes will be on St. Albans this weekend as LIV Golf’s first event will be taking place just outside of London at the Centurion Club, but two of the new tour’s biggest recruits won’t be there with Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed set to take to the course in the tour’s second event at the end of June.
Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed will have one last PGA event
With both Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau having qualified to play in next week’s U.S. Open, which DeChambeau won in 2020, many wondered how the scenario would play out now that the pair have committed their futures to LIV Golf. On Tuesday, however, the U.S. Golf Association announced that golfers who had qualified for the tournament would be allowed to play, no matter their tour affiliation. This of course comes as a bit of a turnaround given that the PGA itself had recently threatened bans to any player who makes the switch to the new rival Golf tour.
DeChambeau, who has earned $26.1M on the Tour and ranks at 65th on the all-time money earner’s list will reportedly receive at least $100M just for joining LIV, while Reed who ranks at 29th with some $36.9 million earned is expected to receive a similar amount. This of course is an interesting turn of events where DeChambeau is concerned after he state that leaving the PGA Tour was not worth the risk just last week. “I think that’s mostly - a lot of it is private,” said DeChambeau, an eight-time winner on tour. “There’s not really any conversations that need to be made about that, other than the fact that every person out here has their own opinion on it. Me, there’s obviously a lot of conversation. For me, I personally don’t think that at this point in time I’m in a place in my career where I can risk things like that,” he said at the time. Interestingly, DeChambeau and Reed are two of the most polarizing players in golf. Where DeChambeau is concerned, the golfer put on significant muscle mass during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the longest driver on tour, but he has also engaged in a number feuds with fellow pro Brooks Koepka and with on-course rules officials. Reed on the other hand has been at the center of multiple rules controversies in his career.
LIV Golf is under fire
The new golf tour which is Saudi backed has been making major waves in the last few weeks with many players and fans alike weighing in with varying opinions. Needless to say many of those opinions have been negative in nature with the likes of Rory McIlroy drawing attention to the financially driven aspect of the Tour as exorbitant numbers have been discussed in terms of what players will receive. “Any decision you make in your life purely for money doesn’t usually end up going the right way. I’ve had that before — a couple times in my life,” McIlroy said Wednesday. Of course with the likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson having reportedly secured themselves $100 million signing bonuses, the focus on money is hard to stay clear of.
Who else has joined LIV Golf?
As mentioned before recent recruits Phil Mickleson and Dustin Johnson have signed on, which has most definitely raised the profile of the fledgling Tour. Along with DeChambeau and Reed who actually won the Masters back in 2018 there is a growing list of top tier golfers that are taking the bold step of cutting ties with the PGA and joining the LIV Tour. To date we have seen Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace preempt any possible backlash from the PGA by simply resigning from the Tour as they prepare to make the move to LIV.
Not everybody wants to leave the PGA for LIV
Though the buzz surrounding the LIV Tour is intense at the moment and continues to grow as more players make the switch, not everybody seems convinced. PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas said on Wednesday that LIV-associated golfers are free to do as they please, but also went on to refer to the PGA Tour as ‘the best place to play in the world.’ “I’ve thought a lot about it, and it’s just, like, people are entitled to choose as they wish. I don’t dislike [Johnson] now; I don’t think he’s a bad dude; I’m not going to treat him any differently. He’s entitled to choose as he wishes,” Thomas said. “Now, I’m disappointed, and I wish that he and others wouldn’t have done it, but that’s their decision. ...Selfishly, I know the PGA Tour is the best place to play in the world. ...I wish it wouldn’t be taking away from the great story lines and the things that are going on on a tour that’s been around for a very long time and is in one of the best places it’s ever been. I’m just bummed that those guys won’t be a part of it.”
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler also weighed in with his thoughts saying, “I haven’t really noticed anyone missing this week - maybe outside of DJ,” he said Wednesday of Dustin Johnson, who interestingly enough committed to playing in the Canadian Open before announcing his move to LIV Golf.