Bryson DeChambeau cops brutal backlash after LIV Golf defection

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Seen here, Bryson DeChambeau watches his ball after hitting an iron shot. Pic: Getty
Bryson DeChambeau is the latest big-name player to commit to Greg Norman's controversial LIV Golf series. Pic: Getty

Bryson DeChambeau has copped stunning backlash after confirmation the American golfer is the latest big name to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

One of the big-hitting American's sponsors, Rocket Mortgage, reacted to the development by announcing it was cutting ties with DeChambeau, effective immediately.

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"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," Rocket Mortgage's Aaron Emerson said in a statement.

"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.

"Effective immediately, Rocket Mortgage has ended its sponsorship agreement with Bryson. We wish him well in his future success."

DeChambeau's dumping comes after both Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell were also jettisoned by The Royal Bank of Canada, who are major sponsors of the PGA Tour's Canadian Open.

The 28-year-old had previously been linked to the breakaway circuit but said in February that "as long as the best players in the world are playing the PGA Tour, so will I".

DeChambeau, whose prodigious length off the tee has raised concerns about whether he is pushing his body too hard, has been limited this year by wrist and hip injuries. He missed the cut in his last three starts on the PGA Tour.

Johnson, who also said he was "fully committed" to the PGA Tour on the same day, subsequently resigned his membership and is competing in the opening LIV Golf event at Centurion Club this week.

Minutes after the first shots were struck on Thursday, the PGA Tour suspended all 17 players in the field who were taking part despite having been turned down for the required releases.

Pictured right are American golfers Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, with Aussie great Greg Norman on the left.
Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are among the big name stars participating in Greg Norman's LIV golf series. Image: Getty

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan added: "The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations."

Greg Norman hails Bryson DeChambeau signing

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, who is expected to sign more players ahead of the second event in Portland, Oregon, which begins on June 30, said: "Bryson DeChambeau is an exciting addition to LIV Golf's supercharged style of play.

"He is passionate about the sport, innovative in his approach and committed to pushing the boundaries in pursuit of excellence.

"He's not afraid to think outside the box and supports our mission of doing things differently to grow our game.

"The power and energy he brings to the course will deliver added electricity to our competition in Portland and beyond."

DeChambeau officially joined the PGA Tour in 2017 and spent the last two years in the top 10. However, he has slipped to 28th after having surgery on his left hand, an injury that ruled him out of the PGA Championship.

He has played in the last two Ryder Cups for the United States but in joining the exodus to LIV he is jeopardising his place in next year's match in Italy at stake as there are currently no ranking points for the new series.

His place in next week's US Open is safe as he has a 10-year exemption.

On the course, Charl Schwartzel shot a 4-under 66 to take a three-shot lead over fellow South African Hennie Du Plessis in the fight for the $4m (A$5.7m) individual first prize.

The 54-hole event will be decided on Saturday. Both players are on the Stinger team which is leading the way to share a $3m (A$4.25m) purse for the best four-man team.

Australia's Wade Ormsby and Jed Morgan are among five players tied for 21st place, on three over par.

Matt Jones and Travis Smyth (four over), Kevin Yuan (five over) and Blake Windred (10 over) complete the six-strong Australian contingent.

Meanwhile, Australia's Jason Scrivener holds a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed after a flawless eight-under 64.

Scrivener, 33, made eight birdies at Halmstad Golf Club, where 78 men and 78 women from the DP World Tour and Ladies European Tour are playing over the same course.

with agencies

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