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Dustin Johnson resigns from PGA Tour to play in Saudi-backed golf league

Dustin Johnson won the Northern Trust at TPC Boston in 2020.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

ST. ALBANS, England — Two-time major winner Dustin Johnson has resigned his PGA Tour membership to participate in the new golf series backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

The first LIV Golf Invitational, which offers $25 million in prize money, is taking place outside London beginning Thursday.

Johnson said Tuesday he “had to think long and hard” about leaving the PGA Tour, which seemingly ends his hopes of competing in the Ryder Cup for the United States.

“Ultimately, I decided to come and do this,” Johnson said at Centurion Club. “I'm excited about this. Obviously the Ryder Cup is unbelievable and something that has meant a lot to me. ... Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that again, but I don’t make the rules.”

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Johnson, whose last victory was the Saudi International in 2021, is No. 15 in the world, the highest-ranked player in the field. He has held the No. 1 spot in the world longer than any player since Tiger Woods.

“I chose what is best for me and my family,” Johnson said, explaining his decision to join the Saudi venture fronted by Greg Norman.

Speaking alongside Johnson, former US Open champion Graeme McDowell said he had yet to give up his PGA membership.

“I don’t feel I need to,” he said. “I don’t want to get into a legal situation with the PGA Tour.”