Joining LIV Golf has been a major financial boon (and moral quandary) for a number of golfers, but making the big leap has come with some costs as well.
Bryson DeChambeau, who joined LIV Golf earlier this week for a reported $ 100 million, was publicly dropped by sponsor Rocket Mortgage on Friday, according to The Detroit News. The company cited its relationship with the PGA Tour, which holds the annual Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, in cutting ties with DeChambeau.
The statement, via Detroit News:
“Rocket Mortgage has been a long-time supporter of the PGA Tour, both through our role as an official partner and as a tournament host. The Rocket Mortgage Classic has quickly become a fixture on the Tour, with players coming to Detroit to compete, while also raising crucial funds to help bridge the digital divide in our city. Our partnership with the PGA Tour extends to several prominent golfers, including Bryson DeChambeau, as ambassadors of the Rocket Mortgage brand. As has been widely reported, Bryson elected to join the LIV Golf Series. “
This is far from the first time a sponsor has dropped golfers almost immediately after they joined the Saudi Arabia-backed tour.
Dustin Johnson, LIV Golf’s biggest get, and Graeme McDowell were both dropped by the Royal Bank of Canada after joining LIV Golf. Like Rocket Mortgage, RBC sponsors the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open, which is seeing competition this weekend from LIV Golf’s opening event in London.
Lee Westwood lost a sponsorship going back 14 years when UPS cut him loose and, of course, just about ever sponsor in sight ran away from Phil Mickelson when he controversially told the truth about how he was willing to overlook Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses to leverage more money from the PGA Tour.
All of this has been fairly predictable, as companies were naturally going to side with the golf tour with which they are actively doing business. It’s just another cost of doing business for players who are still receiving far more money than they will lose from the sponsorships.