Dustin Johnson Offered PS100m to make a late U-turn and Join the Saudi-backed Rebel series

Dustin Johnson Offered PS100m to make a late U-turn and Join the Saudi-backed Rebel series

Dustin Johnson was offered around PS100 million in a last-ditch offer by Greg Norman to complete a surprise about-turn and join in the Saudi-led rebel golf team, Telegraph Sport understands.

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The pricey fee for signing-on was rescinded due to Norman’s desire to get an impressive name following Phil Mickelson, who has not been included on the initial list of 42 players and was adamant that it was because he was taking too much criticism.

Former world No. 1 Johnson has shocked the world of golf by his decision. However according to sources the Johnson could be rewarded up to $150 million (PS119m) simply for expressing his commitment to the championship.

A record-breaking amount is more than enough to cover the inevitable storm that is likely to surround his career and the expected departure of major sponsors based on his involvement to the PGA Tour.

Three months after announcing the fact that he declared he was “fully committed” to the PGA Johnson’s abrupt change of heart has powerbrokers in a state of shock. The 37-year old, who took home The Masters 18 months ago is one of the 42 players in the team for this week’s LIV Invitational, which promises $25 million in prize money thanks to the controversial backing of the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. Six additional names are expected to be added prior to when the tournament begins that could result in Mickelson being given an early entry.

Telegraph Sport understands Norman, the chief organizer and a close friend of Johnson, initially thought of announcing the lineup on Friday, but was pushed back because of negotiations at the last minute with his top signing.

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Johnson was initially scheduled to compete for The RBC Canadian Open next week because he has an endorsement agreement that he signed with the Canadian bank to be an ambassador. The organizers of the Canadian Open have already openly expressed displeasure with his decision, and it’s now likely that RBC would be the very first brand of its kind to end the deal in endorsements for Johnson.

The American is in a way the most important drawcard for the tournament’s opening on to 9 June at the Centurion Club located outside of London. Englishmen Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Richard Bland plus Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland are also in the 12-team field for the three-day tournament. Similar to Johnson, McDowell also has a lucrative partnership with RBC.

Then again, Mickelson was not included. His controversial comments in February about the Saudi Arabians are “scary momf ——” caused Johnson and the other players first signing up to the PGA however, was not included on the list published on the night of Tuesday.

The PGA and European tours are said to have refused release for players, meaning that everyone involved is at risk of being punished after the tournament begins. RBC stated that they were “extremely disappointed” that two-time Major winner Johnson has decided to stay out of this year’s Canadian Open.

“We were recently made aware that Dustin Johnson made the decision to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener,” RBC stated in an announcement. “DJ has been a valued RBC Team member since 2018. While we are extremely disappointed in his decision, we wish him well.”

Johnson’s possible demise by RBC follows Louis Oosthuizen and Westwood lost their UPS agreements. Mickelson has also been unable to sign several contracts. Norman used his close relationships with Johnson to convince Mickelson to join the team.

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The pair have been close friends following a chance encounter about two years back at the Grove XXIII The golf club that is owned by the basketball famous Michael Jordan in the superstar belt of Jupiter, South Florida.

The fashion label Hugo Boss is also understood to have fired twice major champion Martin Kaymer over his involvement in the breakaway.

Mickelson 51, however was linked with the breakaway contest for some time, but announced in February that he had decided to take his time from the sport after

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for his “reckless” comments.

Amnesty International has been among those who have expressed concern about Saudi involvement in the LIV Gol scandal, saying it’s a distraction from the country’s poor human rights record.

However, Norman LIV Golf’s chief executive, states: “Free agency has finally come to golf. This is an opportunity to start a movement that will change the course of history by bringing new and open competition to the sport we all love.”

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David Winkle, the agent of the world’s number 13 Johnson said on The Golf Channel: “Dustin’s been contemplating this for the past two years and decided it was in his and his family’s best interest to pursue it. He’s never had any issue with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it’s given him but in the end felt this was too compelling to pass up.”

In addition, Jack Nicklaus, a winner of 18 majors, and the host for this week’s PGA Tour event – the Memorial Tournament – says he declined a massive opportunity to run the brand new circuit , but he declared he did not have any interest in joining the other circuit. “I did it [met organisers] out of courtesy to them because we’re doing a golf course for them,” Nicklaus declared in a press conference during the Memorial. “I’ve got zero interest in wanting to do something like that. I don’t care what kind of money they would have thrown at me.”

Analysis of the 42-player roster for the first LIV Golf tournament

By Daniel Zeqiri

Amateurs

Ratchanon Chantananuwat

James Piot

David Puig

In contrast to PGA and DP World Tour tournaments, LIV Golf tournaments offer amateurs the chance of taking an award at the conclusion each week. Therefore, it should come as not surprising that people like that of 2021 US Amateur champion James Piot are playing.

Asian tour players

Sadom Kaewkanjana

Phachara Khongwatmai

Sihwan Kim

Ryosuke Kinoshita

Jinichiro Kozuma

Hideto Tanihara

Scott Vincent

LIV Golf launched a $200m investment in the Asian Tour to help themselves get a foothold on the world of golf. A lot of regular players from their tournaments are set to compete at Centurion. The World Number 173 Hideto Tanihara is among the most successful player, winning 16 times at the Japan Golf Tour by the age of 43.

DP World Tour lesser lights

Oliver Bekker

Richard Bland

Laurie Canter

Hennie du Plessis

Oliver Fisher

Justin Harding

Sam Horsfield

Pablo Larrazabal

Jediah Morgan

Shaun Norris

Wade Ormsby

Adrian Otaegui

JC Ritchie

Blake Windred

The DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, has long been a step behind its American competitor in terms of riches and fame, so a lot of tour players have taken the chance to participate in the first LIV event. World No . 66 Richard Bland is the pick of the bunch, having had an excellent 18 months, which nearly saw him qualify to play in the Masters.

Sam Horsfield is one of the youngest players at 25 years old, and is considered to be an important prospect but hasn’t had the opportunity to train on. Oliver Fisher, still just 33, was a possible rival to Rory McIlroy as a youngster but has fallen to 979th place in ranking in the world. Fisher is a part of Centurion.

Veterans with good CVs

Sergio Garcia

Martin Kaymer

Graeme McDowell

Ian Poulter

Lee Westwood

Bernd Wiesberger

Charl Schwartzel

Louis Oosthuizen

Branden Grace

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If they do play their best, these names will be the mainstay of the tournament and will draw many headlines. Garcia, Kaymer, McDowell, Schwartzel and Oosthuizen are all major champions, as is Lee Westwood a former world No. 1. Similar to Ian Poulter, Westwood and Garcia are European Ryder Cup stalwarts. Wiesberger had a chance to win in the Race to Dubai when winning three times in the year 2019.

Oosthuzien 39 is a surprising name, given that his top finish in three majors of 2021. His countryman Branden Grace has the title of the most low score at a major thanks to a 62 in the 2017. Open Championship.

PGA Tour rebels

Taylor Gooch

Dustin Johnson

Matt Jones

Chase Koepka

Kevin Na

Hudson Swafford

Peter Uihlein

Andy Ogletree

Turk Petit

All American except for Australian Matt Jones, these players have faced criticism and possible sanctions from the most prestigious Tour of golf. Andy Ogletree and Turk Petit are Korn Ferry Tour players, one tier below that of the PGA Tour. Chase Koepka is the younger brother of Brooks.

The best athlete in this field has to be Dustin Johnson, whose inclusion is bound to shake up the sport. The two-time major champion appears to have a lot of years left in him, regardless of whether his 2022 performance has fallen short of his standard. Johnson scored five points out of five in the last Ryder Cup and is the World No 13 player.

If five more participants who are part of five players from the Asian Tour come through qualifying and qualify, there’ll be just one spot left. Everyone is watching Phil Mickelson’s next step.

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