Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter were masters at talking a whole lot without saying much during their primes. Then there’s Dustin Johnson, who usually doesn’t say much at all, in number of words spoken or depth.
But the former world No. 1 and two-time major winner did offer some insight on Wednesday about his decision to ditch the PGA Tour for the controversial LIV Golf circuit.
“We were talking about this [on Tuesday],” a sarcastic Johnson said when asked at this week’s tournament in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, how he would describe his last 4 1/2 months. “I was really regretting my decision to come here. This is just a terrible … was sitting there [Tuesday] night thinking about it.”
Johnson, who, along with the other players who bolted for LIV, remains suspended from the PGA Tour, seems thrilled over his decision. In six events—only one of which he has won in the individual competition—he’s already made $30 million. That’s in addition to a reported $125 million he got just for joining the Saudi-funded league. And with two more events left this season, including this week’s tournament, he’ll only add to his total.
By comparison, the 38-year-old has $75 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour, good for third all-time behind only Phil Mickelson (who also left for LIV) and Woods.
LIV and many of the players who have defected to the outfit have been heavily criticized since it launched earlier this year.
Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the country has been accused of using LIV as a way of helping sports wash its long list of abhorrent human rights atrocities. Earlier this week, a Saudi activist whose sister was reportedly kidnapped and jailed urged the LPGA not to align with LIV. And the Ladies European Tour is facing criticism for its tournament this week at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, which is also funded by Saudi money.
Johnson, meanwhile, remains unbothered by his decision, even as his suspension continues.
“It was really bothering me a lot,” he said, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “Just can’t get over it.”