Dustin Johnson Quits Membership of The PGA Tour
TWO-time major champion Dustin Johnson has quit the PGA Tour to focus on the LIV Series, which is reported to have paid him $150m to commit his future to the Saudi-backed project.
It means that he will no longer be eligible to play in the Ryder Cup, although, as things stand, he can still play in the majors.
The majors are not run by the PGA Tour and Johnson's victory two years ago in The Masters gives him a lifetime exemption at Augusta National. His 2016 US Open triumph guaranteed him a spot in his national championship for 10 years. His Masters win also gives him a five-year exemption for The Open and US PGA Championship.
The former world number one will play all eight events of the fledgling $255m (£200m) series, which starts on Thursday at Centurion Club near London.
Johnson, 37, joined the PGA Tour in 2007 and has won $74m in his career. He explained away his decision by saying that he longer wants to commit himself to a full-time playing schedule.
"I don't want to play for the rest of my life, this gives me an opportunity to do what I want to do," he said.
In quitting the PGA Tour, Johnson will give up his opportunity to feature in the Ryder Cup. He has been on the winning side in two of his five appearances in the biennial competition against Europe, including winning all five of his matches in last year's record 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits in Michigan.
"The Ryder Cup is unbelievable and has meant a lot to me, but ultimately I decided this was best for me and my family," he said. "All things are subject to change and hopefully at some point it will change and I will get a chance to do that again.”
Johnson said in February he was committed to the PGA Tour, which has threatened sanctions and potential bans against players signing up for LIV Golf.
When asked what had changed in such a short space of time, the world number simply replied: "I thought it was best for me and my family. I resign my membership of the PGA Tour.
"What the consequences are going to be I can't comment on how the Tour's going to handle it. I can't answer for the majors but hopefully they're going to allow us to play.
"Obviously I'm exempt for the majors so I plan on playing there unless I hear otherwise.”
The Open Championship and US Open, which starts on 16 June at Brookline, Massachusetts, would have to introduce a special clause to exclude any players competing in the LIV Golf events.
Kevin Na resigned his membership last week, and it is believed Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace have all followed suit.
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