Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia Headline Saudi-Backed LIV Golf's London Field

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 1, 2022

TULSA, OKLAHOMA - MAY 20: Dustin Johnson of the United States plays his shot from the 17th tee during the second round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 20, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images )
Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images

The field for the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener has been revealed, and it features one of golf's biggest names in two-time major winner Dustin Johnson.

Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel dropped the list of names Tuesday:

Ryan Lavner @RyanLavnerGC

Here it is — finally — the LIV London field. Notable names: DJ (!), Sergio, Oosthuizen, Sergio, Westy, Na. <a href="https://t.co/2B4vCeEnWs">pic.twitter.com/2B4vCeEnWs</a>

Four other major winners—Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Graeme McDowell—are also in the field.

Other players who dot the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking are making their way to LIV Golf's first tournament, including Kevin Na (No. 33) and Talor Gooch (No. 35).

The first-ever LIV Golf event will take place June 9-11 at Centurion Club in London. That will kick-start an eight-event series culminating with a season-ending team championship October 27-30 in Miami.

David Winkle, who represents Johnson, sent a statement to Jason Sobel of the Action Network regarding the decision.

"Dustin has been contemplating the opportunity off-and-on for the past couple of years. Ultimately, he decided it was in his and his family’s best interest to pursue it...

"Dustin has never had any issue with the PGA TOUR and is grateful for all it has given him, but in the end, felt this was too compelling to pass up."

Dan Rapoport of Golf Digest gave some more context about Johnson's decision:

Dan Rapaport @Daniel_Rapaport

Why would DJ go? The stuff you and I think about—reputation, legacy, what others think—simply don’t matter to him. He cares about his family, his close friends and that’s about it. He’s always been authentic about that. In his mind, this is the best decision for those people. <a href="https://t.co/Tripe4l93d">https://t.co/Tripe4l93d</a>

As Rapoport noted, it's a 42-person field right now that will rise to 48:

Dan Rapaport @Daniel_Rapaport

Here it is…48 guys will play in the first LIV event. There are 42 names here on this list—DJ, Sergio, Poulter, Ootshuizen— with 5 spots to be filled by guys who qualify in Asian Tour event, and 1 final spot for…well, we’ll leave that guess to you.<br><br>But DJ to LIV is a shock. <a href="https://t.co/sKFqXMRmq4">pic.twitter.com/sKFqXMRmq4</a>

Johnson is the biggest name, but the question remains about Mickelson's status on the Saudi Arabia-financed tour.

Mickelson has come under significant fire for comments related to his interest in playing for LIV Golf in which he acknowledged Saudi Arabia's glaring human-rights abuses but said that he was considering joining the league regardless because of his issues with the PGA Tour. He is currently taking a leave from competitive golf.

For now, it'll be Johnson headlining the field as this group heads to London for the three-day event.