"There was a lot of financials to it" - Bryson DeChambeau unapologetic about LIV Golf defection
"It was a business decision."
He may be down at 29th in the current golf world rankings and winless since May 2021, but Bryson DeChambeau is one of the biggest names in the golfing landscape.
The 28-year-old strung together seven PGA Tour wins from July 2017 to September 2020, including his first major success - the US Open. Known for his rapid ball speed off the tee and strategising to boom long drives off expected lines of attack, the American is a fascinating watch when he is at the peak of his powers.
Niggling injuries have slowed his tempo over the past year, but DeChambeau is a player who is no afraid to back himself. Heading into the delayed 2020 US Masters, he boldly proclaimed the Augusta National course [par 72] was playing like a par 67 for him. He went on to card rounds of 70, 74, 69 and 73 to finish tied for 34th.
The California native has only played six times this year and has missed cuts in four of the five events that had them. He finished 58th in a WGC Matchplay event, in March. Long linked to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, DeChambeau told reporters in late May that it would be 'too much of a risk' to jump ship from the PGA Tour, at this stage of his career.
Over the weekend, during the first LIV event, it was then announced that DeChambeau would be joining the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter in the breakaway golf series. He has reportedly been paid $100 million to get on-board with LIV Golf, with winners of this year's events getting $4.75m.
In a green-side interview, after a US Open practice round at Brookline, DeChambeau was unapologetic about his decision to step away from a full-time commitment to the PGA Tour. He also insisted he would prefer to have the option to play future PGA events, of his choosing.
Bryson DeChambeau on LIV Golf 'business decision'
"It was a business decision, first and foremost," Bryson DeChambeau told assembled reporters at The Country Club, in Brookline. "That's all there was to it."
The eight-time PGA Tour winner said moving to LIV Golf, which only has eight events slated for 2022 but is planning more in 2023, would give him more time away from golf to be with his family, and future family. Asked if stepping back from the PGA Tour was "money-driven", the California native responded:
"There was a lot of financials to it, and a lot of time, as well. So I get to have a life outside of the game, as well."
"I would love to play on the PGA Tour again," he added. "It would be an honour."
Although the PGA Tour has now suspended 17 golfers that have not officially resigned from the tour, the American says he would like to have the option to play tour and LIV events. DeChambeau has not been suspended from the PGA Tour yet, as he has yet to tee-up at a LIV Golf event.
"I want to play where people can see great entertainment," he declared. "I'm going to deliver that, anywhere I'm at." Asked if he was concerned about his golfing legacy by shunning the PGA Tour, DeChambeau replied:
"I think we'll have a new legacy. Whatever that is."
DeChambeau says he believes LIV Golf will help grow the global GDP [gross domestic product] of the game.
Asked about the 'very real possibility' of not playing on the PGA Tour again, he said, "It's not my decision to make."
DeChambeau was sketchy on details about the Saudi Arabian backers of LIV Golf, stating, 'what's gone on has not been great, but they've been moving in the right direction, from what I can see'.
Amnesty International UK, last week, accused LIV Golf players 'willing stooges of Saudi sports-washing' due to the Gulf kingdom's 'appalling human rights record'.