Bryson DeChambeau Defends Saudis, Feels for PGA Tour Players

Bryson DeChambeau Defends Saudis, Feels for PGA Tour Players
Bryson DeChambeau of the United States looks on from the 18th green during the final round of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N. Y., on May 21, 2023. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Field Level Media

Bryson DeChambeau left the PGA Tour in June 2022 for a contract with LIV Golf worth at least $125 million, paid for with Saudi Arabian money.

Late Tuesday, June 6, in an interview with CNN and hours after the announcement that the PGA Tour, LIV and the DP World Tour were joining forces, DeChambeau defended the decision to use that same Saudi money to pay for the venture.

“There’s a lot more behind closed doors that’s been going on. What I can tell you is that H-E Yasir has always been a staunch supporter of golf globally, and wanting to grow the game,” DeChambeau said, referring to “His Excellency” Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Improvement Fund. Al-Rumayyan was named chairman of the new golf entity.

“As it’s come to fruition now I think this is the best thing that could ever happen to the game of golf,” DeChambeau said of the partnership. “The fans are going to get what they want, the players are going to experience something a little different, a little new, but I truly believe the game of golf wins.”

When pressed about Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights and terrorism, DeChambeau expressed sympathy for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and their families, but said it is time to turn the page. 9/11 families decried the partnership with the Saudis on Tuesday.

“I mean look, it’s unfortunate what has happened but that is not something I can speak on because I’m a golfer,” DeChambeau said. “What I can say is that, what they’re trying to do is be better allies, because we are allied with them. I’m not going to get into the politics of it, I’m not specialized in it. But what I can say is they’re trying to do good for the world and showcase themselves in a light that hasn’t been seen in a while. Nobody is perfect but we’re all trying to improve in life.”

DeChambeau, 29, said PGA Tour players have the right to be angry for turning down opportunities to join LIV Golf and remain loyal to the tour—only to have the tour shift focus.

“I do feel bad for the PGA Tour players because they were told one thing and something else happened, and our side, we were told one thing and it’s come to fruition,” DeChambeau said. “It does stink a little bit from my perspective that the PGA Tour players are not necessarily winning. I hope they can find a way to make sure that they are valued in the same way that we are over at LIV. I think that'll happen, it’s just going to take some time with players pushing back a little bit and trying to figure out what gives them the best opportunity to be successful.”