The LIV Golf field will feature some of the best players in the world for its first-ever event this week. Some of the biggest names have resigned from the PGA Tour in order to compete in the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed golf league.

The inaugural season for LIV Golf starts Thursday with an event at London’s Centurion Golf Club. Dustin Johnson told reporters that he resigned from the PGA Tour, along with other players, as they get set to compete in the 2022 LIV Golf season.

Forty-two players will compete in the first LIV Golf event for their share of a $25 million purse.

“I resigned my membership from the Tour and I’m going to play here, for now. That’s the plan," Johnson said at a press conference Tuesday morning. "What the consequences are going to be I can’t comment on how the Tour’s going to handle it. I can’t answer for the majors, but hopefully they’re going to allow us to play."

Only a handful of golfers have been more successful than Johnson since he joined the PGA Tour in 2008. Only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh are currently on the PGA Tour and have more wins than Johnson’s 24 victories. The 37-year-old won the 2016 U.S. Open and the 2020 Masters.

Johnson tied for 12th place at this year’s Masters. He leaves the PGA Tour as the No. 15 player in the world golf rankings. Johnson ended 2021 as the No. 3 ranked golfer in the world.

It’s been reported that Johnson was paid well above $100 million to join LIV Golf.

Louis Oosthuizen is the second-best player in the LIV Golf Field, according to the world golf rankings. The No. 21 player in the world, Oosthuizen has left the PGA Tour. Oosthuizen is one of eight South Africans competing in London.

Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel, and Branden Grace also left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Other notable names in the field at Centurion Golf Club include Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, and Kevin Na.

Phil Mickelson has been the biggest name connected to LIV Golf. Mickelson told Sports Illustrated that he has not resigned his PGA Tour membership, even though he plans to play in all eight LIV events for the 2022 season. Mickelson also intends to play in the U.S. Open, which starts on June 16.

"I worked really hard to earn that lifetime membership," Mickelson said. "And I’m hopeful that I’ll have the ability to play wherever I want, where it’s the PGA Tour, LIV or wherever else I want.’’

Mickelson didn’t compete at the Masters or PGA Championship, following his comments about supporting LIV Golf, despite Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It’s been reported that LIV Golf is paying Mickelson around $200 million.

Dustin Johnson speaks to the press at the Centurion Club, near London
Dustin Johnson speaks to the press at the Centurion Club, near London AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS
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