Dustin Johnson leaves PGA Tour to play in LIV

Dustin Johnson leaves PGA Tour to play in LIV

LONDON — Dustin Johnson said Tuesday he has joined several other golfers and resigned from the PGA Tour effective immediately, and he plans to play only LIV Golf events and major championships going forward.

Johnson, who has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2008, made the announcement in the opening news conference for LIV Golf’s first event at Centurion Golf Club. Johnson said he’d carefully considered the decision over the last six months and felt it was the right one.

“For right now, I’ve resigned my membership on the tour and I’m going to play [LIV] for now,” Johnson said. “That’s the plan.”

In February, Johnson released a statement through PGA Tour Communications saying he was fully committed to the tour, but he ultimately changed his mind.

“At that time, I was committed to playing the PGA Tour,” Johnson said. “I’m very thankful for the PGA Tour and everything it’s done for me. I’ve done pretty well out there for the last 15 years. But this is something that was best for me and my family. It’s something exciting and something new.”

Johnson said he fully expects to be able to play in the majors, including next week’s U.S. Open at Brookline, Massachusetts. The USGA has not shown any indication that it would attempt to bar players who joined the LIV Golf Tour from its championships. Johnson has a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Open because of his 2017 victory, and his 2020 Masters victory earned him five-year exemptions into the Open Championship and PGA Championship through 2026.

“I can’t answer for the majors, but hopefully they’re going to allow us to play,” Johnson said. “Obviously I’m exempt for the majors, so I plan on playing unless I hear otherwise.”

Johnson’s 24 PGA Tour victories are the fourth most among active players, trailing Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh. He has earned $74.2 million during that time.

Johnson’s decision — which follows similar decisions by Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia, Brandon Grace and Charl Schwartzel — likely will make him ineligible for future Ryder Cups, as players need to be members of the PGA of America to be considered. Members of the PGA Tour are given automatic membership into the PGA of America. Johnson said he weighed that in his decision as well.

“Obviously all things are subject to change,” Johnson said. “Hopefully at some point it will change and I’ll be able to participate. If it doesn’t, well, it was another thing I really had to think long and hard about. Ultimately I decide to come to this and play out here.

“The Ryder Cup is unbelievable and something that has definitely meant a lot to me. I’m proud to say I’ve represented my country and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that again. But I don’t make the rules.”

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