GOLF

Bryson DeChambeau Joins LIV Golf Invitational Series

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2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau is joining the LIV Golf Invitational series, a source confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.

Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, is also joining the LIV series, according to multiple reports.

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DeChambeau and Reed are set to attend LIV Golf’s first event in the United States, scheduled for Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, June 30-July 2.

A spokesperson for LIV Golf declined to comment.

“Bryson has always been an innovator,” DeChambeau’s agent Brett Falkoff of GSE Worldwide told ESPN on Wednesday. “Having the opportunity to step into the ground floor of something unique has always intrigued him. Professional golf as we know it is changing and it’s happening fast.”

It would be another blow to the PGA Tour, which has denied posting conflicting events to players who asked them to participate in LIV golf tournaments. The events are financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

DeChambeau and Reed are two of the most polarizing players on the tour.

The additions of DeChambeau and Reed would give LIV Golf at least nine former great champions who left the PGA Tour. Phil Mickelson, six-time grand champion, Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer, two-time grand winners, and four others — Sergio Garcia (Masters 2017), Charl Schwartzel (Masters 2011), Graeme McDowell (US Open 2010) and Louis Oosthuizen (Open 2010 Championship) – are taking part in LIV Golf’s inaugural event, which begins Thursday at the Centurion Club outside London.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan threatened players who competed without release with potential penalties including fines, suspensions and/or bans. A handful of players, including Johnson, Garcia, Schwartzel and Kevin Na, have quit the tour.

DeChambeau, 28, was one of LIV Golf’s first targets. He told Memorial last week that he plans to continue playing on the PGA Tour.

“I think it’s mostly — a lot of it is private,” DeChambeau said. “There aren’t really any conversations going on about it, other than, for example, every person here has their own opinion about it. Me, there’s obviously a lot of conversation. For me, personally , I don’t think that at this point I’m at a point in my career where I can risk things like that.

“I’m loyal to my family that I’ve created around me with sponsors and everything. And right now the world of golf is probably going to change to some degree. I don’t know what it is. It’s not my job I’m just going to continue to play professional golf and enjoy it wherever it takes me, playing with the best players in the world That’s really all I have, that’s what I I will do for the rest of my life, because I want to be one of the best players in the world.”

An eight-time PGA Tour winner, DeChambeau has only made six starts this season due to a left hand injury, which required surgery in April. He is ranked 28th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Reed, 31, has nine PGA Tour wins and has earned nearly $37 million during his tour career. Reed struggled after being hospitalized with double pneumonia in August. He is ranked 36th in the world.

Defending PGA Champion Justin Thomas, speaking on Wednesday since the PGA Tour halted in Toronto, repeated previous thoughts that his peers have the right to choose where they want to play.

“You know, it’s a disappointment. I mean, I think a lot of us are – I don’t know if bored or tired is the right word. I mean, it’s just one of those things” , he said.

“I don’t hate DJs [Dustin Johnson] now,” he continued. “I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I’m not going to treat it any differently. It’s as if he had the right to choose as he sees fit. Like I said, that doesn’t make him a bad person. Now I’m disappointed and wish he and others hadn’t done it, but it’s their decision.”

ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren contributed to this report.

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