The fallout from Dustin Johnson’s decision to defect to the Saudi-backed LIV Tour on Tuesday night started swiftly.
RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), one of Johnson’s more notable sponsors, released a statement that hinted they were cutting ties with the 2020 Masters champ.
“RBC is a proud partner of the PGA Tour. Our partnership is anchored with two world-class golf tournaments—the RBC Heritage and the RBC Canadian Open,” the statement read. “The PGA Tour has been clear about its intentions in accordance with its tournament regulations should a golfer choose to play in a tournament outside the tour, including the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
“We were recently made aware that Dustin Johnson made the decision to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener. DJ has been a valued RBC team member since 2018. While we are extremely disappointed in his decision, we wish him well. ”
The PGA Tour has threatened players with potential suspensions or even banishment as punishments for playing in the LIV events. Johnson’s decision will put those threats to the test, given his lofty status in the sport.
Johnson’s name will headline the LIV Golf Invitational, the debut event for the PGA Tour’s new rival. It will be held at the Centurion Club in London from June 9-11. Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia were among the other big names listed for the 42-player field, which did not include Phil Mickelson, though the event is expected to add six more players.
Mickelson has been ostracized since he made comments threatening to use the Saudi-backed tour as leverage against the PGA Tour.
Johnson’s name, however, is by far the biggest and most shocking get by Greg Norman — the Australian golfing legend who has become the face of the LIV Tour.
“Dustin’s been contemplating this for the past two years & decided it was in his & his family’s best interest to pursue it. He’s never had any issue w / PGA TOUR & he is grateful for all it’s given him but in the end felt this was too compelling to pass up, ”Johnson’s agent, David Winkle, said in a statement.