As rumors circulate that some of the world’s top professional golfers would join the proposed Golf Super League, a handful have reiterated their commitment to the PGA Tour and dealt the new venture a big blow.
Major winners Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau — both heavily linked to the new, lucrative tour — both released statements on Sunday, stating their desire to remain on the PGA Tour.
And Rory McIlroy, when asked about the speculation as well as Johnson and DeChambeau’s statements, said he believes the Super League is “dead in the water.”
“Who’s left? Who’s left to go? I mean, there’s no one. It’s dead in the water in my opinion. I just can’t see any reason why anyone would go,” the 32-year-old said after his final round at the Genesis Invitational on Sunday.
“No one really knew where Bryson stood. I was really glad to see DJ and Bryson put out those statements this week. We all want to play against the best players in the world and they’re certainly two of the best players in the world.”
The Super League is reportedly a Saudi-backed proposed venture which is attempting to attract golfers away from golf’s main tours — the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour — with offers of big money.
A few weeks ago, according to UK media reports, DeChambeau had been reportedly offered over $135.7 million (£100 million) to be the face of the new league — something he denied.
However, the 2020 US Open winner also denied he was looking to move away from the existing tours.
“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 are playing the PGA Tour, so will I,” DeChambeau said in a statement released on his Twitter.
“As of now, I am focused on getting myself healthy and competing again soon. I appreciate all the support.”
The 37-year-old Johnson also rebuffed the rumors too.
“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 issued by the PGA Tour.
“I feel it is now time to put such speculation to rest. 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.
“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.”
They now join a long list of names to deny any claims they’ll be joining another alternative golf league, including McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa.
One of the only players to openly show their support for the league is Phil Mickelson.
The six-time major winner said in an interview with Alan Shipnuck for his upcoming book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” said that he’d consider joining the proposed Super League because it is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”
“They’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse. As nice a guy as (PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan) comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won’t do what’s right. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I’m not sure I even want (the Super League) to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the (PGA) Tour.”
However, McIlroy criticized Mickelson’s comments, calling them “naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant.”
“It was just very surprising and disappointing, sad. I’m sure he’s sitting at home sort of rethinking his position and where he goes from here.”