Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau distance themselves from Super League project
Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have distanced themselves from a Saudi-backed Super League by reaffirming their commitment to the PGA Tour.
The two big American winners were the biggest names associated with the proposed breakaway league.
Their decision to back the established US circuit is a blow to the upstart project led by former world number one Greg Norman.
Four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy said the idea was “dead in the water”.
“Who’s left? Who’s left? I mean, there’s nobody. It’s dead in the water in my opinion. I just don’t see any reason why anyone would go,” McIlroy, 32, said.
“Nobody really knew where Bryson was at. I was really happy to see DJ and Bryson post those statements this week. We all want to play against the best players in the world and they are definitely two of the best players in the world.”
Those who join the new league could be banned of the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Ryder Cup.
Former world number one Johnson, 37, is a two-time winner of the Saudi international tournament and had been closely linked with the proposed league.
But the 2020 Masters champion denied rumors he was set to defect, saying he was “fully committed to the PGA Tour”.
“Over the past few months there has been much speculation about an alternative tour; much of which appears to have included me and my future in professional golf,” Johnson said in a statement released by the PGA Tour. .
“I think now is the time to put that speculation to rest. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and all that it has given me and my life. family.
“While there will always be areas where our Tour can improve and grow, I am grateful for our leadership and the many sponsors who make the PGA Tour the premier golf tour.”
DeChambeau, 28, has reportedly been offered more than $100m (£73.6m) to be the Saudi-backed league figurehead.
But soon after Johnson’s statement, the former US Open winner also distanced himself from the project on social media.
“While there has been a lot of speculation surrounding my support for another tour, I want to make it very clear that as long as the best players in the world play the PGA Tour, I will too,” DeChambeau tweeted.
“Right now I’m focusing on my health and competing again soon. I appreciate all the support.”
DeChambeau, Johnson and Phil Mickelson were to be the top names leading the breakaway.
European Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell are also believed to be considering membership offers.
However, the rejection of the project by Johnson and DeChambeau is a significant setback.
Major stars including McIlroy, world number one Jon Rahm, Open champion Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas already said they weren’t interested.
Last week it was claimed that 20 top players had already signed up, but now a breakaway league seems a much more distant prospect.
Mickelson’s comments disappoint McIlroy
McIlroy also slammed six-time Major winner Mickelson’s comments about the prospect of joining the breakaway league.
Mickelson called it “a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”
He added: “The Tour likes to pretend it’s a democracy, but it really is a dictatorship.”
Asked about those comments, McIlroy said: “I don’t want to kick somebody while they’re down obviously, but I thought they were naive, selfish, selfish, ignorant.
“It was just very surprising and disappointing, sad. I’m sure he’s sitting at home rethinking his position and where he goes from here.”