Dustin Johnson makes divisive LIV golf debut in London after PGA Tour suspension | Launderer’s report
AP Photo/Alastair Grant
Dustin Johnson shot under par in the first round of LIV Golf’s London event at the Centurion Club on Thursday.
Johnson is tied for ninth and four strokes behind co-leaders Charl Schwartzel and Hennie du Plessis in the individual standings when he entered the clubhouse.
LIV Golf’s maiden voyage wasn’t the biggest story surrounding Johnson that day.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced that Johnson and 16 others were suspended from tour events indefinitely.
“Their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event is in violation of our tournament rules,” Monahan said. “The same fate applies to any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations.”
The announcement undoubtedly overshadowed the action at the Centurion Club to some degree.
Johnson made the trip to London with little momentum on the course. He missed the cut at RBC Heritage, tied for 59th behind AT&T Byron Nelson and missed the cut at the PGA Championship.
His uneven play continued on Thursday.
The two-time major champion delivered some highlights.
LIV Golf is backed by the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi government’s sovereign wealth fund. Many have accused the Saudi government of using the tour, as well as other sporting ventures, as tools for sport washing – using sport to distract or enhance a nation’s reputation. The Saudi regime has been accused numerous human rights abuses and was implicated by US intelligence officials in the murder of Washington Post Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The second round will begin at 9 a.m. ET on Friday. Unlike PGA Tour tournaments, LIV events only span 54 holes. This leaves less time for Johnson to chase down Schwartzel and Du Plessis and claim victory.