Two-time major champion and 15th-ranked player in the world, Dustin Johnson, has resigned his membership status with the PGA Tour and will play the LIV Golf Invitational Series full time.
Just days after announcing that the former Masters champion would be competing in the inaugural London event, Johnson confirmed that he has split with the PGA Tour.
“I resigned my membership from the Tour and I’m going to play here, for now. That’s the plan,” Johnson said during his Tuesday LIV Golf press conference.
Johnson said that he couldn’t comment on how the Tour or the entities that host the major championships will handle the decisions on play given his new free agency status.
“I can’t answer for the majors, but hopefully they’re going to allow us to play,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s decision comes as a speculation looms behind players motives in resigning from the tour. The biggest reason being, resignation allows players access to the PGA Tours lucrative retirement fund. Johnson has claimed nearly $75 million in on-course PGA Tour earnings since earning his membership in 2008.
With his resignation, Johnson is also no longer eligible to compete for Team USA in any upcoming Ryder Cups or this year’s President’s Cup at Quail Hollow.
“If someone wants to play on a Ryder Cup for the U.S., they’re going to need to be a member of the PGA of America, and they get that membership through being a member of the (PGA) Tour,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said during a press conference last year.
Other Resignations Likely
While Johnson has now openly confirmed his decision to walk away from the Tour, other regular members are also rumored to be exiting.
Spaniard, and Masters champion Sergio Garcia and a trio of South Africans: Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, and Branden Grace have also tendered their resignations from the Tour, according to the Associated Press.
Oosthuizen confirmed he gave up his membership and said that he planned to leave the Tour at the end of the year regardless.
“It was probably going to be my last year on Tour,” Oosthuizen said during Tuesday’s press conference. “I always said when I get to 40, I want to do something else.”
These five new players join Kevin Na in making the move to resign from the Tour to avoid any potential sanctions from defying the Tours waiver denials.
While Johnson and company have left the Tour, six-time major winner Phil Mickelson has no plan to hand-in his lifetime Tour membership, confirming to Sports Illustrated Monday that he’s planning to keep his tour status.
The first round of the LIV golf event will begin Friday at Centurion Club outside London. The PGA Tour has not yet announced what penalties players like Mickelson will face for competing in the splinter tours first event.
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