MIAMI – Bryson DeChambeau told ESPN on Thursday that he will remain a plaintiff in LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour because the PGA Tour will not pay him a $1.75 million bonus as part of the Player Impact Program.
Before playing in the LIV Golf Team Championship Pro-Am at Trump National Doral Golf Club, DeChambeau told ESPN that the PGA Tour paid only half of the $3.5 million bonus he earned for finishing fifth in the PIP rankings starting in 2021.
“It’s not about the money; it’s about the principle,” said DeChambeau. “It’s the way you handle situations.”
DeChambeau said he received his first payment of $1.75 million on February 15. He said there are two requirements to receive the second payout: Play in a regular PGA Tour event he hasn’t played in the past four seasons and play in a charity event.
DeChambeau said he met the first criteria by playing in the Valero Texas Open in early April. DeChambeau said he’s trying to fulfill the latter by appearing at a charity event for First Tee in Dallas next month. DeChambeau has been told by the PGA Tour that he does not meet the standing requirement because he is no longer a member of the PGA Tour in good standing.
“We’re not going to let you do something to help junior golf and junior golfers because you’re not in good shape,” DeChambeau said. “To me, that’s childish. It just shows where they stand emotionally. I respect it and I understand it, but last year, when you did something and provided them with entertainment, that’s why I’m sued.”
The PGA Tour did not immediately respond to ESPN’s request for comment Thursday.
DeChambeau, whose eight PGA Tour victories include the 2020 US Open, joined LIV Golf on June 10, reportedly earning a guaranteed contract of more than $125 million.
DeChambeau, 29, was one of 11 LIV golfers who sued the PGA Tour in California on Aug. 3 in federal court, alleging the tour used its monopoly power to overturn the tournament and hope TV networks, suppliers and other companies were working with LIV Golf. The PGA Tour filed a countersuit, in which it accused LIV Golf of interfering with its contracts with players.
LIV Golfers joined the players as plaintiffs in the lawsuit on Aug. 28. Since then, eight players have withdrawn from the event, including six-time major champion Phil Mickelson. DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein remain plaintiffs.
“The last six years have been very disappointing [the PGA Tour]DeChambeau says it’s constant frustration after frustration at not getting things right.
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, who also joined LIV Golf but will not play this season due to a knee injury, told ESPN on Thursday that he did not receive the second half of his PIP bonus from the PGA Tour. Watson finished 10th in the 2021 PIP rankings and was set to receive a $3 million bonus.
“I didn’t receive all my money for what I won two years ago,” Watson said.
Like DeChambeau, Watson said he did not meet the second requirement by appearing at a charity event.
“They wrote me off a few times,” Watson said. “I had to do some things, they canceled the event, they do something else, they canceled the event. If you look at it on paper, yes, I didn’t fulfill my duty, but I tried to do it.”
Asked how much he misses the $1.5 million he says he still owes, Watson said, “I’m fine, I’m so blessed in life, I can eat.”
Mickelson finished second in the PIP standings and needed to collect $6 million. Two other LIV golfers, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, finished in the top 10 and were eligible for $3 million each. It’s unclear whether Mickelson, Johnson and Koepka have collected all of their bonuses.
The PGA Tour introduced the PIP program last year to reward players who have brought the most positive interest on the PGA Tour. The players are rated on various parameters including social media and TV exposure.
The PGA Tour is awarded $40 million for excellence in the PIP rankings; Tiger Woods finished first and won $8 million. The PGA Tour has increased its PIP pool to $50 million for 2022.