Is Bryson DeChambeau Leaving PGA Tour For Saudi Golf League?

Professional golf is at a crossroads


Feb 16, 2022

Professional golf appears to be reaching a breaking point, and it looks like Bryson DeChambeau is in the middle of everything.

The feeling is DeChambeau plans on leaving the PGA Tour to join the Saudi Golf League, according to multiple reports over the last few days. Most recently, famed golf instructor Jim McLean cited a source who said DeChambeau is headed to the Saudi league, as published by Golf Monthly.

That lends further credence to what Chris Solomon of the “No Laying Up” podcast relayed in their Monday episode.

“Bryson DeChambeau has at multiple events — he said in Saudi, he said it at Kapalua — he said the Sony is going to be my last event on the PGA Tour. He didn’t even end up playing Sony. He did end up playing Farmers, but then at Saudi he said he’s no longer playing on the PGA Tour,” Solomon said on the podcast. “He told players that. That’s what he said — do I believe that yet? I don’t know. If he goes and turns up and plays in an event, don’t hold that against me. He was on the commit list for Genesis and is no longer on it … It is in flux, but these are things being said and the things that are happening. I don’t think all decisions have been made, so you can’t (officially) report on anything like that, but the information I know from very reputable sources is that’s where things stand now.”

The Saudi plans have been long known and acknowledged, though it feels like there has been a sudden change in momentum. While DeChambeau has underwhelmingly pushed back against some of the reporting, he hasn’t made any sort of strong commitment to the PGA Tour, nor has he denied flirtation with the Saudi league.

He did, however, deny he was being given $135 million to join the league, but his one-word Instagram reply to the report — “Wrong” — doesn’t actually dispute the notion he got an offer. That report might be conservative with others suggesting he could be looking at a payday in excess of $200 million.

DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson have long been viewed as the most likely “big names” to jump ship and take the Saudi money. Not much has happened recently to suggest otherwise. That both players publicly voiced their support for PGA Tour veteran Charley Hoffman when he ranted against the Tour this weekend was telling to say the least.

If the Saudi league is merely months away from getting off the ground as some have suggested, the rubber is about to meet the road. Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa admitted he was offered money but insisted his allegiances are with the PGA Tour. Others, like Rory McIlroy, have taken similar stances.

But there will be more movement. Tour player Kramer Hickok recently said on the “Stripe Show Podcast” that at least 17 players are lined up to make the move: “There are going to be some big names going over there.”

The moral arguments against joining a Saudi-backed operation are obvious. Sportswashing is nothing new, and the Saudis have thrown an ungodly amount of money at various athletes and organizations in recent years to help in that effort. As Hickok says, the dollar figures being thrown around are absurd, even for pro golfers.

Details obviously are foggy, and there are myriad unknowns as the golf season kicks into high gear. What we do know, though, is there appear to be major changes to the landscape on the horizon.

Thumbnail photo via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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