Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion, and Patrick Reed, who won the 2018 Masters, are planning to join the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit that hopes to challenge the established PGA Tour, according to multiple reports.
Both golfers, unlike the majority of the top players entered in this weekend’s inaugural LIV Golf event outside London, are still in the prime of their careers. DeChambeau, 28, has become one of golf’s most popular players because of his prodigious drives. Reed, 31, is an aggressive, feisty figure in the game known for quality performances in the biggest events. Reed has won 12 tournaments in the United States and Europe and finished in the top 10 at each of the four major golf championships.
While DeChambeau and Reed are not in the field for the inaugural LIV Golf event, which begins Thursday, they join a growing list of PGA Tour players who have aligned with the upstart league and will play this week. That group includes Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Kevin Na, Martin Kaymer and Talor Gooch. Only two in that group are ranked in the top 30 worldwide: Johnson is 15th, and Oosthuizen is 21st.
DeChambeau and Reed are expected to make their LIV Golf debut on June 30 in an event outside Portland, Ore. So far in 2022, both players have struggled. DeChambeau has missed the cut in four of his last five tournaments while Reed has missed the cut or finished outside the top 25 in 12 of the 14 events he has entered. Both players are expected to compete in next week’s U.S. Open in the suburbs of Boston. The United States Golf Association, which conducts the U.S. Open, said on Tuesday that players associated with the LIV Golf circuit who had already qualified for the U.S. Open, which includes DeChambeau and Reed, would be permitted to play.
The Telegraph first reported that DeChambeau and Reed would commit to play in this year’s LIV Golf Invitational series. The next event for the circuit is outside Portland, beginning June 30.
As recently as last week, DeChambeau denied being enticed by the mammoth upfront payouts and appearance fees being offered to the world’s top golfers by LIV Golf.
“Me, there’s obviously a lot of conversation,” DeChambeau said at the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament. “For me, I personally don’t think that at this point in time I’m in a place in my career where I can risk things like that.”
DeChambeau’s agent, Brett Falkoff, issued a statement to a handful of news outlets on Wednesday: “Bryson has always been an innovator. Having the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something unique has always been intriguing to him. Professional golf as we know it is changing, and it’s happening quickly.”
DeChambeau and Reed will most likely be added to the list of tour members facing punishment from the PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, who has said that players choosing to play in the LIV Golf events without the tour’s permission could face suspension from the PGA Tour or a lifetime ban. No tour player was granted a release to play in this week’s event outside London.