Dustin Johnson has an about turn and will now play in the Saudi funded LIV Golf Invitational


The surprise news announced in the world of golf is that Dustin Johnson will headline the inaugural Liv Golf Invitational at the Centurian Club near London next week.

Englishman Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Richard Bland along with Graeme McDowell are also in next week’s event that will feature a 12 team, 48 man field for the three day event.

Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson has decided not to play in the event but six more players will be announced by Monday.

American Mickelson, has been linked with the breakaway event for a few months, but announced in February that he would be taking a break from the game.

What we are going to start witnessing now is a battle for the future of elite professional Golf.

Will it continue to remain in the hands of America’s PGA tour, supported by their European partners the DP World Tour, or will the Saudi Arabia backed newcomers, fronted by Greg Norman win over the up and coming golfers on the circuit?

LIV Golf is promising to revolutionise golf, with a shorter version of the game that will be sharper and is lucrative enough to attract the biggest names in Golf.

Unsurprisingly, it is understood there are huge signing on fees running into millions of dollars. There lies the answer, this all boils down to money, with the Saudi Public Investment Fund financing Norman’s project, having a massive amount of money.

So much so that it appears it was enough to turn the American Johnson’s head. Back in February he sided with the PGA Tour saying he was firmly behind it. Fast forward just over three months and the US Open and Masters winner now has had a dramatic change of heart.

Presumably, he has now had time to chew over the consequences of joining the breakaway group and has decided that the way forward is with  LIV Golf.

It is understandable the likes of Spain’s Sergio Garcia, Westwood, Poulter and McDowell have made this choice after declaring their interest in the venture a little while ago, despite all four considered to be future European Ryder Cup captains.

DP World and PGA Tour players were refused official permission to take part and sanctions may follow. If actions are taken against them, it remains to be seen how severe the punishment will be.

These players clearly know what they are doing. All are at the end of their careers and unlikely to ever win a major again. By signing up to this new venture, it is a chance for them to pick up a big pay cheque at the end of their swansong.

£1.6 billion worth of backing is a massive amount, with a fair chunk of this falling into the pockets of the golfers.

Questions now remain:Will they be fined or banned? And for the European and Americans involved, does this spell the end of their Ryder Cup careers?

Johnson is taking a enormous gamble, which could have severe implications to his golfing future one way or the other; either in his pocket or getting back to the position of Number 1 in the world.

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