Former world No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson has slyly attacked critics of his decision to join the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf tour, joking that he “really regrets” referring to the “terrible” rebel streak switch.
Johnson’s sarcastic comments come just days after he took his LIV earnings to $30 million in less than five months and just six tournaments.
The American is currently in Jeddah ahead of the latest Invitational series and has already been crowned the first season-one champion of the tour.
This most recent singles title secured him an $18 million bonus on top of his $12,758,600 in winnings from previous tournaments – and he’s reportedly pocketed a lucrative $125 million in registration fee for his initial controversial exit.
With that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that Johnson is quite pleased with himself, and he made that clear in his final pre-tournament press conference.
Johnson stood alongside Graeme McDowell and Harold Varner III at Royal Greens Golf Country Club in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and was asked “how he would describe this four and a half month journey”.
In response, he told reporters, “I don’t know, we talked about it yesterday. I really regretted my decision to come here, it was just awful.
“I sat there last night and thought about it, it really bothered me a lot. I just can’t get over it.”
Johnson has already earned more in six tournaments than in any previous PGA Tour season, but the defectors have drawn criticism for their decision to participate in a tour funded by Saudi Arabia, given their terrible human rights record.
The 38-year-old American is married to Paulina Gretzky, daughter of hockey legend Wayne, and the couple tied the knot in an elegant ceremony in Tennessee earlier this year.
Speaking after his latest fundraiser in Bangkok last week, Johnson was quick to double-check his wife’s name in his speech.
“Suspending the individual competition is big,” he said. “It’s an honor to be LIV’s first single-season champion.
“I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their faith in me, my brother and caddy Austin, my wife Paulina, my 4 Aces teammate Pat [Perez]Patrick [Reed]and Talor [Gooch]as well as LIV’s growing legion of fans around the world.
‘Our team is in a really good position with two events outstanding and I look forward to continuing to contribute to the exciting story and continued growth of LIV Golf.’