No players have publicly signed up to participate in a proposed rival league, but a few of the game’s biggest names said Wednesday at the Asian Tour’s Saudi International that they see value in a team concept.
When asked directly about the team component of a Saudi-backed Super League, Lee Westwood said that he wouldn’t – and couldn’t – answer questions because he has signed a non-disclosure agreement.
However, he told reporters, “But when I’m at home, I watch a lot of sport, but not a lot of that sport is golf because it seems to me it’s just 72-hole stroke play week-in and week-out, and when I’m playing in it, I’ve had enough of it by then. … I think team golf, every now and again, is a good thing. People seem to enjoy watching it. I think the team aspect is excited. It’s a little bit more volatile than week-in, week-out 72-hole stroke play.”
Full-field tee times from PIF Saudi International
Dustin Johnson also said that the rival league’s team component “is a really good concept. I think it makes it a little more interesting for the fans and for the players. Yeah, I like the concept.”
Currently, the only official PGA Tour event with a team component is the Zurich Classic, which features two-man teams playing both fourballs and foursomes over four days. Johnson hasn’t played that event since 2015, before the format change.
The Telegraph reported this week that Ian Poulter was offered approximately $30 million to spurn the PGA and DP World tours and join the Saudi-backed league. Johnson said he was “not allowed to disclose” whether he received an offer. But a reporter followed up by asking if he’d had a similar offer to Poulter’s.
“No, not similar,” he said, laughing. “It’s just not similar.”
Phil Mickelson said that “pretty much every player in the top 100” has been contacted about the Super League, at some point. That doesn’t appear to be the case, however. Cameron Smith, the 11th-ranked player in the world, said Wednesday that he hasn’t yet been approached.