Dustin Johnson generated headlines when he decided to join LIV Golf last year. Fans were left questioning the top athlete.
Why would one of the world’s best golfers leave the PGA Tour?
Johnson, 38, has repeatedly stated that his decision was in his family’s best interest. He is married to Paulina Gretzky, daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, and the couple have two children.
In the Netflix series “Full Swing,” Paulina Gretzky shed light on Johnson’s career-altering move.
“I don’t think Dustin would ever make bad choice for his children and people have to understand at the end of the day, that’s who he chose this for,” Gretzky said via the New York Post.
“Of course, I get what everyone’s saying, but my dad being a hockey player [NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky] — I’m sure as a kid, there were times when I’m like like, ‘Why does my dad have to play on my birthday?’ This is about Dustin and the kids and me and taking care of us and being there with us.”
Johnson left PGA Tour in 2022
Johnson received a four-year deal worth reportedly $125 million from LIV Golf. According to Palm Beach Post reporter Tom D’Angelo, Johnson had made around $75 million in 15 years on the PGA Tour prior to defecting.
“I’ve had a wonderful career on the PGA Tour and I’m very proud of it, and always will be,” Johnson said during the show. “Obviously now I’ve taken kinda of a different step in my life and career.”
However, the decision hasn’t come without backlash.
What do other golfers say about LIV?
Several golfers have been outspoken about the LIV Golf Series. Rory McIlroy has been vocal regarding LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman. McIlroy stated that Norman “needs to go” amid the controversy between sides.
Tiger Woods echoed a similar sentiment. He voiced his opinion on LIV Golf during his press conference at The Open Championship last year.
“I disagree with it,” Woods said. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”
Despite the animosity between both sides, Johnson continues to thrive in LIV Golf. He won the LIV Golf Invitational Boston and topped the overall money leaders list. In addition, Johnson also won the individual championship and serves as the captain of the 4 Aces team.
“I know that I’m one of the best golfers in the world. I think I’ve proven it over a long period of time. When I show up to a major, I mean, I’m there to win, and they can have their own opinion,” Johnson said. “For me personally, I feel like my reputation as a golfer is already kind of set, so I don’t think there is anything to prove.”