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The Super Golf League took a big hit on Sunday when one of its supposed prize recruits, Dustin Johnson, pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour by releasing a statement through the PGA Tour.
“Over the past several months, there has been a great deal of speculation about an alternative tour; much of which seems to have included me and my future in professional golf. I feel it is now time to put such speculation to rest,” Johnson said in a statement released on the PGA Tour communications Twitter account.
“I am fully committed to the PGA Tour. I am grateful for the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and for all it has provided me and my family. While there will always be areas where our Tour can improve and evolve, I am thankful for our leadership and the many sponsors who make the PGA Tour golf’s premier tour.”
This is the exclamation point to what has been an astounding week off the course for professional golf. With the financial arm of the Saudi Arabian government poised to swipe some of the most well-known players in the world — Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and others (previously including Johnson) have been rumored — D.J. now joins Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm as those who have committed to the PGA Tour in the long term.
This on the heels of a wild story in which Mickelson was quoted calling the Saudis “scary motherf—ers to get involved with” before adding that he still wanted to make the leap from the PGA Tour to the Super Golf League (which, again, would ostensibly be financed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia) “because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates. … I’m not sure I even want [SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour.”
Now the SGL is starting to fall apart before it even begins. Without D.J. or any of the other megastars on the PGA Tour, the SGL is left with Mickelson, perhaps DeChambeau and a lot of players who might be quality names but aren’t globally recognized superstars.
Where it heads next is up in the air, but it doesn’t appear to be the threat it was a month or even a week ago. Not with Mickelson going rogue with some of his commentary and D.J. among others who have committed or recommitted to the PGA Tour.
This saga has been fascinating, but like with the fracture of any large-scale organizations, engendering change is extraordinarily difficult — especially when that change was being led by somebody who fires from the hip as often as Mickelson.
Lefty’s admission to Alan Shipnuck that he helped write the operating agreement for the league — prior to adding that he doesn’t know if he wants it to succeed — reeks of the kind of bluff Mickelson would admire when it comes to gambling. However, it does not play well when it comes to high-stakes business, at least not publicly.
Now, it appears the entire thing is unraveling in front of him, and the PGA Tour hasn’t even lifted a finger … well, other than to type D.J.’s statement, of course. The SGL could still be birthed and find some success as it is rumored to be starting this summer, but it feels more like it will be remembered in the future for what it has always been in the present: a pipe dream.
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