Speaking with the media ahead of the 2023 U.S. Open teeing off Thursday in Los Angeles, LIV Golf defector Dustin Johnson said he believes the upstart circuit he was paid more than $100 million to join in 2022 will be returning for its third season in 2024.
A two-time Tour major winner with a victory at the 2016 U.S. Open under his belt, Johnson said his belief that LIV will continue to operate despite its recent merger with the PGA stems from a conversation he had with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). As the backer of LIV Golf, the PIF will also throw its massive financial weight behind the yet-to-be-named PGA-LIV entity.
“We are committed to working closely with the PGA leadership and board to advance our previously announced transaction to invest significantly in the growth of golf for the benefit of players, fans and the expansion of the game around the world,” the PIF said, per The Wall Street Journal.
Although it was previously believed that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who will serve as the CEO of the merged circuits, would have the ability to eliminate LIV, apparently that is not the case. That’s probably because Al-Rumayyan, who will act as chairman of the new venture, is calling the shots because he is supplying the money.
“I don’t want to make any statements or make any predictions,” Monahan previously said. “But what is in place is a commitment to make a good-faith effort to look at team golf and the role it can play going forward.”
Power Broker Who Lost 66 Employees on 9/11 Helped Create PGA-LIV MergerJimmy Dunne joined the PGA Tour’s policy board as an independent director in 2023
Going forward, Johnson believes LIV’s 54-hole team competitions with shotgun starts aren’t going anywhere.
“Everything I’ve heard, they’re still working on a full schedule for next year,” Johnson told ESPN. “The rest of this year and 2024 is going to be the same as far as I know. After that, you know as much as I do. We just don’t know what it’s going to look like here. We’ll probably know some more in the next six months, but as of right now everything’s just going to stay the same. I’m just glad at some point we’re all going to come together and we’re not battling each other anymore.”
LIV Golf has six more tournaments left on its schedule this season before wrapping up with a team championship in Saudi Arabia in early November. It sounds as if those who’ve been hoping that’ll be LIV’s last event may not get their wish.