Sports | July 28, 2022 10:57 am

LIV Golf Nabs Another Masters Champ as Bubba Watson Defects From PGA

The two-time Masters champion bagged a fee in the range of $50 million to tee it up for LIV, according to reports

Bubba Watson reacts to a putt at the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club
Bubba Watson is waving goodbye to the PGA Tour.
Andrew Redington/Getty

Another one bites the dust.

Or, viewed another way, another one is taking a bite at the golden apple that the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series and its vast coffers (of what some would call blood money) have become.

Rumored to be a top target of Greg Norman and LIV earlier this month when British Open winner Cameron Smith was in the process of defecting from the PGA Tour to join the upstart league, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (2012 and ’14) is prepping to make his debut for the rebel series at an event outside Boston over Labor Day weekend. First reported by The Telegraph, Watson bagged a fee in the range of $50 million to tee it up for LIV.

At one point ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, Watson hasn’t played since late May due to a torn meniscus. The 43-year-old disclosed the injury after contending early at the PGA Championship before finishing tied for 30th. Now ranked No. 86 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Watson nonetheless gives LIV another big name and will join other defecting past Masters winners including Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia.

Another golfer in his 40s, Charles Howell III, will be playing for LIV for the first time this week. Whether it is accurate or not, Howell claims money had nothing to do with his decision to defect from the PGA Tour. Twenty-first on the career earnings list with $42 million in earnings, Howell has only won three times over more than two decades as a pro.

“Money didn’t play a role,” he told Golf.com. “Money was not a factor. For me, I’ve been [on the PGA Tour] for 22 years, and it’s been awesome. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about the PGA Tour, what they’ve given me, the opportunities, et cetera. But when this came along, I’m 43 years old, I’ve done a lot of that. I still love the game. I love the game more today than I did five years ago… It’s new and exciting. Not that the PGA Tour got boring, but I’m extremely excited to be here for the next few years, and yeah, it’s a new venture, and at this age and this part of my life, it’s perfect.”

Despite protests and with Howell but without Watson included in the field, the LIV Golf Invitational will tee off at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey tomorrow.