Dustin Johnson didn’t mince his words. The two-time major winner was conducting a press conference at the opening event of LIV Golf’s second season when he was asked if he had watched the episode of Netflix’s “Full Swing” docuseries in which he’s featured.
“I have not,” Johnson said flatly.
Then came the follow-up: “Will you watch it?”
“Probably not,” the former World No. 1 said, before catching himself and adding almost apologetically, “I’m just being honest.”
Finally, Johnson was asked: “Do you have any interest in watching it?”
“Zero … I watched them [Netflix] film me, so no need to watch the episode.”
The docuseries, produced by Netflix and Vox Studios in collaboration with the PGA Tour, showcases Johnson alongside US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick in Episode 5. Johnson is portrayed, through sit-down interviews and a dinner with his team, as satisfied with his standing in professional golf’s elite ranks. His episode was filmed while Johnson was transitioning from the PGA Tour — where he won 24 times, including the 2016 US Open and 2020 Masters — to LIV Golf.
Johnson was reportedly offered well over $100 million as a signing bonus when he joined from its inception last summer. He played all of LIV’s eight-event inaugural season and made almost $36 million. That came from his victory in LIV’s Boston stop, as well as his position at the top of the season-long standings for both he and his team, the 4 Aces.
In the Netflix episode, the 38-year-old father of two said his decision to join LIV was purely a business decision: play less, earn more.
“The decision to join LIV finally just came down to the offer that they made me,” Johnson said in the episode. “For me, it was playing less, making more money. Pretty simple. If someone offered anyone a job, doing the same thing they’re already doing, but less time at the office and they’re going to pay them more, pretty sure you’re going to take it. And something is wrong with you if you didn’t.”
In contrast, one top player who was featured and did watch his episode was English star Ian Poulter. In Episode 3: “Money or Legacy”, Poulter talks through whether a lucrative LIV Golf contract is worth giving up his PGA Tour card and potentially the right to play on or be involved with future Ryder Cup teams. Poulter became a legend within the European team over seven victorious appearances. The episode explores the human side of Poulter and the family factors behind his decision to join LIV.
The 47-year-old liked what he saw.
“I think the overall piece with the family was pretty good,” Poulter said at El Camaleon.
Poulter also said he had been inundated with messages and comments on social media from fans who had previously been critical of his LIV move, but sympathised with him after watching the episode.
“I have had nothing but incredible comments since,” Poulter said. “Hundreds of notifications on social media from people who were very critical, but apologised and said things like: ‘I got it wrong. I’ve said negative things since you started playing LIV but to be honest, I didn’t know the full story and background.’”
Poulter hopes “Full Swing” has a similar impact to “Drive to Survive,” a popular docuseries also produced by Vox Studios that explores the world of Formula 1 racing.
“I’m a huge ‘Drive to Survive’ fan,” he said. “I’m actually waiting for Season 5 to start, and if this does what it does for Formula 1, which saw a 45-per cent uptick in support, then that’s really, really cool. I’d love to take golf to people who haven’t been fans of it previously.”