SUGAR GROVE, Ill. — Bryson DeChambeau insisted he has no regrets about his decision to jump from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.

“I couldn’t be happier to be over here,” he said. “I have no buyer’s remorse.”

The 2020 U.S. Open champion called it the biggest decision he has made besides choosing his agent and added he has the “ultimate respect” for the PGA Tour and the opportunities it provided him.

DeChambeau spoke Thursday at Rich Harvest Farms in suburban Chicago, best known for hosting the Solheim Cup in 2009. It’s where the fifth LIV Golf event and fourth on U.S. soil is being held this weekend.

He is part of a field of 48 that includes Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia. Players on 12 teams of four will compete for points and prize money in a 54-hole stroke-play format with no cut and shotgun starts. The purse is $25 million, with $4 million going to the individual winner and $3 million to the winning team.

“What LIV Golf has provided is something new and unique, different, and with that to be said, there’s going to be some disruption and people aren’t going to like it, and I respect every single person that doesn’t think it’s good for the game of golf,” DeChambeau said. “I understand it, but I hope they are open-minded enough to go, you know what, let me just give it a chance, and if you give it a chance, you might see something pretty cool.”


The breakaway series remains a source of controversy.

DeChambeau and Mickelson along with several other players and LIV Golf are involved in an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, claiming it has used monopoly power to try to squash competition and has unfairly suspended players. Players who did not resign their PGA Tour memberships were suspended for competing in LIV events, and most of those suspensions are through March 2024.

There’s also the issue of where the funding is coming from, given Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Critics say the players are essentially taking blood money.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, is one of them. The Majority Whip and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman tweeted Thursday he was not happy to have the event in his state.

“This weekend, a golf glove will try and cover a blood-stained hand as the LIV golf tournament comes to Chicago in the Saudi government’s continued, desperate attempt to clean up its image,” Durbin wrote.

The players tried to avoid politics and keep the focus on golf.


“Everybody is obviously entitled to their opinion,” Anirban Lahiri said. “I have mine. But I don’t think it’s relevant. My golf is relevant. What we do with our actions for the community here are relevant. Those are all visible, and I think that’s what people need to see. That’s what people need to focus on because there’s a lot of good happening, but no one is talking about it.”

Joaquin Niemann, playing his second LIV event, sees the series helping “grow the game in a good way doing this team format.”

“It’s getting so exciting,” he added. “I’ve been loving it.”

EUROPEAN TOUR: Rory McIlroy’s first competitive round on next year’s Ryder Cup course was a success.

The four-time major champion holed out an approach shot for an eagle en route to a 4-under 67 for a share of the clubhouse lead in the opening round of the Italian Open at the Marco Simone club outside Rome.

After producing only one birdie on his opening nine holes – having starting his round on the back nine – McIlroy shot up the leaderboard when he landed his second shot from 115 yards on the par-4 third a few feet from the hole. The ball then rolled in and McIlroy lifted his arms in delight as he watched from afar back up the fairway.


McIlroy was tied for the lead with five other players: Gavin Green of Malaysia, Adri Arnaus of Spain, Scott Jamieson of Scotland, Eddie Pepperell of England and Antoine Rozner of France.

U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick was one stroke ahead at 5 under through 15 holes when play was suspended because of darkness.

LPGA: Ayako Uehara found momentum from par saves on her opening two holes and turned that into a 7-under 65 for a one-shot lead among the early starters in the AmazingCre Portland Classic in Oregon.

Hannah Green had a 66 despite a bogey on her final hole at Columbia Edgewater Country Club, with Nelly Korda in the group another shot behind.

In a year in which the LPGA Tour already has had eight first-time winners, Uehara would be a surprise. The 38-year-old has been on tour for a decade, and her only three victories came on the Japan LPGA.

Add that to Uehara missing so much of the year with a lung condition that made it difficult to breathe. She was treated and declared fully healthy, but not until she missed six months, returning two weeks ago at the Dana Open in Ohio.

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