Dustin Johnson wins LIV Golf Las Vegas and is unconcerned about new $3B deal for PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson won the LIV Golf Las Vegas tournament by one shot that demonstrated why he’s still one of the best golfers around.

LIV Golf Invitational - Las Vegas - Day Three
LIV Golf Invitational - Las Vegas - Day Three / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Dustin Johnson said he didn’t do much practicing before the LIV season, which started last week in Mexico. Despite his lack of preparation he placed T5 there. He also won his third LIV tournament at the Las Vegas Country Club by birdying three holes on the back nine to pull ahead of the pack with a 12-under finish.

At Mayakoba Johnson tied Brooks Koepka and Charles Howell III for a T5 spot, a result he was “pretty surprised” by last week. Although the 39-year-old golfer admits that he didn’t perhaps have the best season last year, he still won the LIV tournament in Tulsa. His best result at the majors last year was a T10 at the U.S. Open. He was also cut from The Open Championship.

“I get to actually spend some time at home, which is nice,” Johnson said, via the Daily Mail, at the beginning of the Las Vegas tournament. ‘People always ask: ‘Do you go anywhere in the off-season?’ I'm like: ‘No, being home is kind of like being on vacation, really.’ Because all we do is travel all the time. For the last what 15 years, it's all I’ve done. You’re home a couple of weeks here, a couple of weeks there… it's nice to actually get some good quality time at the house.”

Will the PGA and LIV Tours ever merge?

Johnson also said that he wasn’t too concerned by the latest news about the PGA Tour, which announced the week before about a $3 billion investment deal with the Strategic Sports Group (SSG). Although Yasir Al-Rumayyan (PIF) is one of the sports’ team owners involved with SSG, it certainly puts the PGA in a much stronger position for the ongoing negotiations with the LIV-PGA merger. It leaves things up in the air about the two leagues combining players, with the possibility of crossing platforms, a desire expressed by many golf fans.

“To be honest, I have no idea,” Johnson responded. “I mean, obviously I know the gist of it - it's a group that's investing some money into the tour… but that's about as far as it goes. I haven't read anything on it.”

Adam Scott, a member of the PGA Tour Board, doesn’t see a unification way forward for the time being.

“We could throw around ideas here forever and not get to a really good outcome,” Scott said last week at Pebble Beach, according to The Associated Press. “The first thing I think of when I hear, ‘Just bring them all back,’ is well, they want to play on LIV. They don’t want to play here. So what if they don’t want to come back and play? So what happens then?

“I personally don’t think so,” was Scott’s response when asked if unification of the tours complements the PGA’s business goals. “And obviously, SSG don’t either, because they’ve been willing to do this deal not contingent on anything to do with PIF.”

The world rankings issue continues to rankle as well.

Johnson and LIV players seem content, however

Letting his golfing do the talking, the two-time major winner demonstrated his putting dexterity in Las Vegas. With that, coupled with his performance in Mexico, he’s shaping up for a formidable run at this year’s Masters taking place in April.

At one point during the final day in Vegas, there had been a six way tie that included Talor Gooch and Peter Uihlein, both of whom finished just behind DJ at 11-under.

Battling tricky wind conditions throughout, the former world No. 1 golfer hit a crucial birdie on the second to last hole to secure the $4M winning payout in Las Vegas.

"It's a great win," Johnson said after his third LIV victory, according to Golf Monthly. "I knew it would be tough with the conditions and obviously a lot of really good players around the lead... I knew it was going to be a grind from start to finish."

With a packed crowd on the final day in Vegas, the locale seemed like a perfect fit for the “Golf, but louder” brand of LIV. Scheduling the tournament to conclude the day before the Super Bowl was a smart option. There were several football players who participated in the pro-am event as well. In comparison, the PGA’s WM Pheonix Open is having to grapple with difficult weather conditions that cut short the third round on Saturday. Toggling between both tournaments made for lots of fun viewing, with the party atmosphere at the WM never disappointing.

“It’s professional golf that’s [got] some of the best players in the world,” Johnson said about the LIV experience before the event. “I think it’s a little bit different than obviously the PGA Tour. We have teams. But I think the fan experience here is a lot more fun. I think the player experience is more fun. We’ve got the music out on the range, some music out on the course. It’s kind of just trending to where golf is going right now.”

The Pheonix Open is trying to conclude tonight, certain to coincide with the start of Super Bowl LVI. The next LIV Golf tournament starts Mar. 1 in Jeddah. The First major of the year, The Masters, will take place April 11.