LIV participants Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell lose RBC as sponsor

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Johnson, who in February said he was “fully committed” to the PGA Tour, finally decided the opportunity was too good to pass up, his agent said.

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June 1, 2022 • 20 minutes ago • 3 minutes reading • 22 comments Dustin Johnson of the United States plays his shot from the 16th tee during the first round of the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club on June 6, 2019 and Hamilton. Photo by Mark Blinch / Getty Images

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The Royal Bank of Canada severed ties with Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell on Wednesday, a day after PGA Tour players were among the 42 players revealed to be competing in the first event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series. supported by Saudi Arabia.

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“As a result of the decisions made by professional golfers Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell to play the opening of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, RBC is terminating its sponsorship deal with both players,” the banking giant said in a statement in Sportico. “We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

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This statement was RBC’s second in as many days as Johnson, 37, who signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with the company in February 2018.

“RBC is a proud partner of the PGA Tour. Our partnership is anchored in two world-class golf tournaments: the RBC Heritage and the RBC Canadian Open,” the RBC statement read on Tuesday. “The PGA Tour has made clear its intentions in accordance with its tournament regulations if a golfer decides to play in an off – tour tournament, including the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

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“We recently learned that Dustin Johnson has made the decision to play the opening of the LIV Golf Invitational Series. DJ has been a valuable member of the RBC team since 2018. Although we are very disappointed with his decision, We wish you the best. “

McDowell, 42, won the 2010 U.S. Open. He has four wins on the PGA Tour.

Greg Norman celebrated Johnson’s addition to the new tour as the arrival of free agency in golf.

“This is an opportunity to start a movement that will change the course of history by bringing a new and open competition to the sport we all love. The desire shown by the players to participate in LIV Golf demonstrates their emphatic belief in our model and confidence in what we are building for the future, ”he said. “We couldn’t be happier with the diversity of our field, with players from all over the world, including the great champions and those who are making their debut with us competing in their first professional event.”

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Johnson was the previously unreported name on the field for the tour’s opening event, which does not include six-time main champion Phil Mickelson. The circuit, seen as a potential rival to the PGA Tour, became controversial for accepting funding from Saudi sponsors.

Other prominent names in the field are Englishmen Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Richard Bland, Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, Talor Gooch, German Martin Kaymer and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.

The PGA Tour did not grant its members permission to play in the event, which will be held June 9-11 at the Canadian Open. Johnson, who won the Canadian Open in 2018, and other members could be punished for choosing the LIV Golf event without the permission of the tour.

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Johnson, who has dropped from third to 13th place in the official world golf rankings this year, is the best ranked player on the course. The former world number one previously said in a statement that he was “fully committed to the PGA Tour.”

The starting league became radioactive after Mickelson admitted to author Alan Shipnuck that the Saudis were “scared (exceptionally) to get involved,” but that he planned to treat them anyway as a lever to get more out. PGA Tour money. including getting players to have their individual media rights.

Johnson and several PGA Tour stars said in February that they were committed to the PGA Tour, and Mickelson pleaded guilty to his actions and went overboard. He did not compete in the Masters or the PGA Championship, the first two majors of the season.

Mickelson’s representatives applied for him to play in the LIV event at the same time as he registered for the PGA Championship and the US Open. After retiring from the PGA on Friday before starting, it is unclear when he will return to the sport.

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