Bryson DeChambeau added his voice Sunday to the chorus of folks declining the opportunity to play in the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League. Following exclamation marks from Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy early in the week, Dustin Johnson pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour on Sunday with DeChambeau — using a notably different set of words — following quickly behind him.
Johnston and DeChambeau, along with Phil Mickelson, were thought to be the three most prominent names the SGL was hoping to add to its roster.
“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. “I am focused on getting myself healthy and competing again soon. I appreciate all the support.”
DeChambeau, who was allegedly offered north of $100 million to play in the league, was a bit more delicate with his language than others. Whereas many top players named the PGA Tour specifically as the place they want to play, DeChambeau said his focus was the competition, and if the best happen to be playing on the PGA Tour, that’s where he’ll be. It’s a subtle but important difference as it relates to future movement.
As for where the Super Golf League stands, it’s now Mickelson — who apparently helped create the operating agreement for the league — and a whole lot of unknown. For a league that was apparently supposed to lift off starting this summer, losing two of the top 15 players in the world in the same day is a blow.
DeChambeau would have been a massive get for any rival league, and Johnson and DeChambeau combined along with Mickelson’s name would have been a real splash. Now, the SGL that Mickelson built has none of the top talent and only his fame to buoy it. That might still be enough to get it off the ground, but it’s looking less and less likely as more players bail.
This decision by DeChambeau comes after he recently withdrew from the Saudi Invitational as he struggled with hip and wrist injuries. He will be the defending champion at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks from now at Bay Hill, and while it was always going to be interesting to see if he showed up to that tournament, now it will only be an intrigue because of intrigue and not because he’s skipped town on the PGA Tour.