Dustin Johnson Losing Sponsors As He Defies PGA Tour and joins LIV Opening Event

On Tuesday night, former PGA Tour number 1 Dustin Johnson announced he would participate in the inaugural Saudi backed LIV tour. By Wednesday morning, one of his main sponsors, RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), indicated in a press release that they would not continue the agreement with Johnson for non-PGA Tour events.

“RBC is a proud partner of the PGA Tour. Our partnership is anchored with two world-class golf tournaments; the RBC Heritage and the RBC Canadian Open.” the statement continued, “The PGA Tour has been clear about its intentions in accordance with its tournament regulations should a golfer choose to play in a tournament outside the tour, including the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

“We were recently made aware that Dustin Johnson made the decision to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener. DJ has been a valued RBC team member since 2018. While we are extremely disappointed in his decision, we wish him well.”

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 15: Dustin Johnson of the United States reacts during the Green Jacket Ceremony after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 15, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Johnson joins the 42 players field in the LIV invitational that includes Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia. Phil Mickelson has been linked with the tour but is currently not in the field. LIV still has 6 spots to name for their first tournament at the Centurion Club in London on June 9-11.

By joining this tour, Johnson faces both punishment from the PGA tour and losing more sponsors. The PGA tour has told its members that by playing in any tournament not sanctioned by the PGA, a player would face suspensions and potentially lose membership to the PGA tour.

RBC is the first sponsor to most likely bail on Johnson, but will they be the last. Johnson earns around $11 million a year from endorsements. Adidas, BodyArmor, Hublot, NetJets, Perfect Practice, and TaylorMade are some of the top companies that are currently sponsoring Johnson. Adidas has a Dustin Johnson collection, where fans can purchase the full look, right from his shoes to his hat.

This story will be updated as more sponsors and the PGA weigh in on his departure.

Written by Bill Graff

Lifelong fan of all things sports and of common sense. I watch a lot of sports, just ask my wife. Go Terps. I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier.

4 Comments

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    • I disagree. First, the players are not by any means employees of the PGA. They are members (more similar to a consultant who does work for many clients). Second, the PGA professes constantly to be all about growing the game of golf abroad, but as soon as someone else decides to help the cause, they call foul. It’s a bad look all around.

  1. I’m trying to figure out why everyone is butthurt about the LIV Tour? These guys are athletes who have had ONLY one option to display thier talent for compensation up to now.

    LIV Tour is similar to the revocation of the “Reserve Clause” for MLB players in the early 70’s that created free agency. These players now have an ADDITIONAL option.

    I don’t blame them at all. Sponsors who drop players because of this weren’t sponsoring the players, but sponsoring the PGA.

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