One of the Saudi Golf League’s biggest rumored defections is staying home.
Dustin Johnson released a statement through a Tour spokesman on Sunday pledging his allegiance to the PGA Tour, a surprising announcement for the two-time major winner, whose involvement in the rival golf league has been rumored for the better part of a year.
“Over the past several months, there has been a great deal of speculation about an alternative tour; much of which seems to have included me and my future in professional golf,” Johnson said in a statement released by the Tour’s communications team. “I feel it is now time to put such speculation to rest. I am fully committed to the PGA Tour.”
The statement effectively quashed Johnson’s interest in the big-money rival tour staged by LIV Golf Investments, which is headed by Greg Norman and backed by the Saudi government’s $400 billion Public Investment Fund. Johnson has played in the Saudi International — also staged by the fund — in every year since its inception in 2019, collecting millions in appearance fees in the process.
The league has been kept under tight wraps, even as speculation has mounted, with many of its high-profile signees believed to be under ironclad non-disclosure agreements barring them from speaking about the new tour publicly. Johnson’s familiarity with the Saudi International, which he has won twice, and his refusal to discuss the rumored league publicly only fueled speculation about his involvement.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and for all it has provided me and my family,” Johnson’s statement continued. “While there will always be areas where our Tour can improve and evolve, I am thankful for our leadership and the many sponsors who make the PGA Tour golf’s premier tour.”
The 37-year-old’s announcement comes after days of speculation about the rival league and its potential defections. Several superstars at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational — including Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa — threw their support behind the Tour, while Phil Mickelson appeared to support a Saudi league in an interview with The Fire Pit Collective.
“As nice a guy as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right,” Mickelson told Alan Shipnuck. “And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I’m not sure I even want [the SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour.”
Johnson has won 24 times on the PGA Tour throughout his 15-year professional career. He sits third all-time on the PGA Tour’s career earnings list with more than $72 million in prize money.