For Dustin Johnson to achieve by far the most successful year of his career in 2022, a major championship was not necessary. He didn’t even need to win that much.
Johnson was named the 2022 individual champion of the new circuit on Monday by LIV Golf. What is the reward for this title? Only about $18 million.
Locking up the individual competition is important, according to Johnson. Being the first individual season winner in LIV is an honor.
Johnson earned five top-10 results in six LIV outings since joining the young, Saudi-backed circuit before its first event in June, including one victory in Boston. These competitions took place over a four-month period. Again, for participating in six tournaments over a third of the year, it amounts to a “season-long” bonus of $18 million (the same sum Rory McIlroy received for winning the PGA Tour’s season-long FedEx Cup championship). Pretty bizarre.
This week in Saudi Arabia, LIV Golf will have one more regular-season competition, but nobody will be able to pass Johnson in terms of individual earnings. Following Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith, who has only participated in three races since joining LIV at the end of August, Branden Grace is presently in second place in the rankings. In this season-long competition, second place receives a $8 million incentive, while third place receives $4 million.
Whether LIV prize money is deducted from a golfer’s contract, which in Johnson’s case is reputedly valued more than $100 million, has been a source of controversy. That payment arrangement has been categorically rejected, although a comment made by a LIV attorney at a hearing in August appeared to suggest otherwise.
Nevertheless, Johnson, 38, earned more money from six tournaments this year than he has in any previous complete season throughout his 15-year PGA Tour career. With an extra $3 million for team events, Johnson had already earned over $10 million from those six finishes.
His most recent $18 million bonus brings his total prize money to almost $30 million. And the team championship in Doral at the end of the month, which will serve as LIV’s first-ever season finale, are both individual events he still needs to compete in.
Prior to this season, Johnson’s earnings were over $20 million, $15 million of which came from winning the FedEx Cup. This was his most successful season to date. That November, he also acquired a green jacket. DJ’s attendance at Augusta in April of next year is still uncertain, but during this period, he has undoubtedly made significant financial gains.
Original article posted on GolfDigest.com
Photo Credit: Matt York/Associated Press