It Seems the Star Defectors of LIV Golf Series Are No Longer Good at Their Craft
Former major winners Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka have all seen sharp downturns in their games
In addition to all generally being roundly ripped from all sides, most recently by Fred Couples, star golfers who have defected from the PGA Tour to join Greg Norman and the LIV Golf Invitational Series including Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka have something else in common: they currently stink at golf.
All ranked within the top 12 of the Official World Golf Rankings at the start of 2021 with Johnson and DeChambeau coming off of wins at the Masters and U.S. Open, respectively, the four biggest stars of LIV Golf (aside from Phil Mickelson) have all plummeted in the ranks. Johnson, who was ranked No. 1 at the start of ’21, is the highest at No. 17 overall, followed by Koepka (No. 19), DeChambeau (No. 31) and Reed (No. 39). Mickelson is all the way down at No. 84.
When Johnson, DeChambeau, Reed, Koepka and the rest of the LIV Series, which also includes former winner Sergio Garcia (No. 63) in addition to Mickelson, hit the course today in Oregon at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, it’ll be the first time the new rival for the PGA Tour will host an event in the United States. Norman and organizers of the series have to be hoping their crop of star players perform better than some of them did at the U.S. Open a few weeks back when only four of the 17 LIV golfers who took the course made the cut and only one finished in the top 25 (Johnson tied for 24th at +4).
That type of performance may be the underlying reason why former PGA Tour stars are defecting to the LIV as the latter guarantees them a big payday even if their play is not deserving of one. Set to continue to plummet in the rankings as LIV events haven’t yet been accredited for points in the Official World Golf Rankings, Johnson, Koepka and the rest of their ilk won’t take a hit in the wallet no matter how far they fall due to the lavish appearance fees and record-breaking purses LIV is offering its players to spurn the meritocracy of the PGA Tour.
“Even beyond the appearance fees, the lucrative prize money in a no-cut field gives the players a safety net no matter how well or poorly they play,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “The $25 million purses at these tournaments are the richest in the sport’s history. Even if a player managed to finish in dead last in all eight LIV events this year, he would still make around $1 million. Those types of guarantees might be especially appealing to the golfers who have established themselves as superstars — but haven’t been playing like one.”
The LIV’s first event in the U.S. tees off today outside Portland at 4 p.m. on LivGolf.com and YouTube.
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