If we keep it all in perspective, Dustin Johnson dealt a body blow to the RBC Canadian Open, but his decision to instead play the inaugural LIV Golf event in London next week was hardly a knockout punch.
Next week’s 54-hole, no-cut event in London will feature 16 of the world’s top 100 players and six former major winners, including Johnson.
However, the Canadian Open has marquee players such as Scottie Scheffler, Cam Smith, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, among others, on their way to St. George’s Golf and Country Club.
From this standpoint, there’s more poppin’ at St. George’s than there is at the Centurion Club in London next week.
It certainly would be entertaining to have Johnson in the field in Toronto, but apparently, money talks and D.J. walks, with reports of him pocketing anywhere between $125-$150 million to join LIV.
With that kind of coin, his termination by RBC on Wednesday as a company ambassador didn’t hurt him financially, but a classy move would have been for Johnson to play the Canadian Open out of respect for its title sponsor and play the second LIV event in Portland, Ore., at the beginning of July.
As stated above, however, when money talks, D.J. walks, but RBC was using Johnson as a promotional poster boy. Johnson had pledged allegiance to the Canadian Open and the PGA Tour but made an about-face with his decision to play in London.
So, the Canadian Open will get along just fine without Johnson, it remains to be seen what happens afterwards, particularly the following week at the U.S.Open at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
The PGA Tour has already warned of suspensions and possible lifetime bans for players who take part in competing LIV events, so after playing in London instead of Toronto, what are the fates of Johnson and the others who defied the tour, which refused to grant them releases?
Is the USGA willing to do without former champions such as Johnson, Martin Kaymer or Graeme McDowell, who was also terminated on Wednesday as an RBC ambassador, or any of the other players in London?
It remains to be seen as does the futures of potential Ryder Cup captains McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.
Should there be any suspensions or lifetime bans, legal action remains a real possibility, as does the possibility of players losing endorsements.
The RBC Canadian Open will do just fine without D.J., but the summer ahead could be turbulent.
Former PGA Tour player Richard Zokol has more here.
Peter Aiello says
Is is my understanding that The US Open is not a PGA event. It is run under the auspices of the USGA. The question then becomes will the USGA allow the PGA to determine who does and who doesn’t play in its events?