Dustin Johnson’s Sponsorship Dropped By RBC After LIV Golf Participation
After former PGA Tour world no.1, Dustin Johnson’s decision to play in the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf event, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has dropped his sponsorship.
Along with this, 2010 U.S. open champion, Graeme McDowell, announced he was set to play in the event and his sponsorship with RBC was also dropped.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series had previously threatened the PGA Tour, which cultivated a negative attitude towards the event globally.
Historically this attitude was also influenced by the financial backing of the tournament by Saudi Arabia, who has a history of concerns over human rights issues.
The RBC, who is the naming rights sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario, which is scheduled from June 9-12, the same time as the LIV Golf event in London, and RBC Heritage in South Carolina as part of the PGA Tour, expressed their disappointment with the athletes’ decisions.
“We were recently made aware that Dustin Johnson (DJ) made the decision to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener,” RBC said in a statement.
“DJ has been a valued RBC team member since 2018.
“While we are extremely disappointed in his decision, we wish him well…
“As a result of the decisions made by professional golfers Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell to play the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener, RBC is terminating its sponsorship agreement with both players.
“We wish them well in their future endeavours,” the organisation said in a statement to ESPN.
The end of the partnerships is the latest move from brands in opposing the rival golf league, following UPS ending their partnership with golfer, Lee Westwood, who announced his intentions to compete in the LIV Golf competition.
Elsewhere, Kevin Na, who is ranked 33rd in the world for golf, has announced his resignation from the PGA Tour due to his intentions of competing in the LIV Golf event, saying he wanted the “freedom to play wherever I want and exercising my right as a free agent gives me that opportunity.”
“However, to remain a PGA Tour player, I must give up my right to make these choices about my career.
“If I exercise my right to choose where and when I play golf, then I cannot remain a PGA Tour player without facing disciplinary proceedings and legal action from the PGA Tour…
“I hope the current policies change and I’ll be able to play on the PGA Tour again,” Na said.