Bryson DeChambeau has officially signed with LIV Golf.
The rival tour made the announcement Friday, midway through the second round of its inaugural event at the Centurion Club outside London. The Telegraph first reported that DeChambeau would defect for the LIV series, with DeChambeau’s manager, Brett Falkoff, saying in a statement Wednesday that, “Bryson has always been an innovator. Having the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something unique has always been intriguing to him.”
DeChambeau’s departure is a significant – and surprising blow – for the PGA Tour.
The 28-year-old, who won the 2020 U.S. Open, is one of the game’s biggest draws, most polarizing characters and most talked-about figures. Last year, he ranked fifth in the Tour’s Player Impact Program, which was designed to measure which players moved the needle. Three of the top 7 on that list have now left for LIV Golf, with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson already competing on the breakaway circuit.
DeChambeau has long been connected to the Saudi-backed tour, but he announced in February that he would remain with the PGA Tour as long as the best players in the world competed there. He reiterated that stance just last week at the Memorial, when he told reporters that, for now, he was sticking with the PGA Tour. “For me, I personally don’t think that at this point in time I’m in a place in my career where I can risk things like that,” he said. The deal to sign DeChambeau was said to have come together quickly, over the course of a few days.
“Bryson DeChambeau is an exciting addition to LIV Golf’s supercharged style of play,” Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, said in a release announcing the move. “He is passionate about the sport, innovative in his approach and committed to pushing the boundaries in pursuit of excellence. He’s not afraid to think outside the box and supports our mission of doing things differently to grow our game. The power and energy he brings to the course will deliver added electricity to our competition in Portland and beyond.”
DeChambeau, who is not planning to resign his PGA Tour membership, will make his LIV debut in the league’s second event, which begins June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon. In addition to next week’s U.S. Open, DeChambeau is also still listed in the field for the Tour’s Travelers Championship, scheduled for June 23-26. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced Thursday that any current and future players who compete in LIV events will be suspended indefinitely.
It’s been a lost season so far for DeChambeau, who missed two months while recovering from hand surgery. He also dealt with a partial tear of the labrum in his left hip. As a result, he has recorded just a single top-25 in six starts, ranks 219th in the FedExCup standings and has plummeted to 28th in the world ranking. He missed the cut last week in his return to competition at the Memorial Tournament.