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Bryson DeChambeau has outlined three reasons for joining LIV Golf while maintaining the Saudi tour can be a “force for good”.
The former US Open champion will make his debut at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Portland, with the second 54-hole, 48-man tournament beginning on Thursday with a prize fund of $25 million (£20.4m).
DeChambeau, thought to have been paid in excess of $100m to switch allegiance from the PGA Tour, insists his motivation was multi-layered.
“One of the things for me, was a personal business decision,” said the 28-year-old. “I run and operate my golf as business as well as wanting to be one of the better players in the world.
“Second off, it was going to give me more resources and opportunities to reinvest in my local community in Dallas, and back at my original home in California, where I can do things for junior golf tours, improve my foundation and also build the multi-sport complex I’m going to be here shortly in Dallas.
“And also give me more time to rest — the ability to have weeks off and recover my body the way I want to so that I can be prepared to give it my all when it comes time. Not be depleted every week and continue to get depleted over the course of time.
“And the last part is, I saw that event in London and I saw how much fun everyone was having. That was exciting to me, and I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
DeChambeau also defended Saudi Arabia and its human rights record, maintainng the nation can be a “force for good” while hoping that “people will see the good that they’re doing”.
“I respect it,” DeChambeau said when asked about those who believe he is playing a role in helping to enable sports washing. “I understand people’s decisions on their comments and whatnot. As it relates to me, I’ve personally made that as my own decision and I won’t say anymore on that, there’s no need. We’re golfers at the end of the day. I think that I respect everyone’s opinion.
“That’s the most important thing people can hopefully understand out of me, that I do respect it. But golf is a force for good, and I think as time goes on, hopefully people will see the good that they’re (LIV Golf) doing and what they’re trying to accomplish, rather than look at the bad that’s happened before.
“I think moving on from that is important, and going, continuing to move forward in a positive light is something that can be a force for good for the future of the game.”
Meanwhile, Brooks Koepka has responded to Rory McIlroy over his “duplicitous” accusation.
The 32-year-old complained at the US Open earlier this month that questions on the Saudi-backed tour were throwing a “black cloud” over the major.
While Dustin Johnson stressed his full commitment to the PGA Tour in March before becoming the first superstar name to join Phil Mickelson ahead of the inaugural event at Centurion Club.
“Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he said previously,” the Irishman said. “I think that’s why I’m surprised at a lot of these guys because they say one thing and then they do another and I don’t understand. It’s pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing. In public and in private.”
But Koepka responded, insisting “opinions change”, adding: “I got respect for Rory, as a player, he’s good, he’s phenomenal. I didn’t see it until a day ago. He’s entitled to his opinion. He can think whatever he wants.
“He’s going to do what’s best for him and his family. I’m going to do what’s best for me and my family. You can’t hate on anybody for that.”