When Koepka Leaves LIV Golf, PGA Tour Changes

Since March, Brooks Koepka has vehemently denied any involvement in the Saudi-backed LIV golf series.

“Money will not change my life,” Koepka said at the time with a sneer. As recently as two weeks ago, Koepka was still telling his teammates that he did not want to leave the PGA Tour.

On Tuesday, he volunteered for the LIV Golf Course round, which will take place for the second time, outside Portland, Ore., From June 30.

What changed for Koepka? It would be easy to say that there are more than 100 million reasons for him to change direction as other former PGA Tour players such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have reportedly received nine-person contracts to join LIV Golf. The new cycle promises an abbreviated schedule that gives golfers more flexibility and organizes non-cutting competitions with axes where each player is guaranteed a great payday.

But every player who entered the LIV Golf launch event outside London earlier this month was stopped by the PGA Tour, and future participants of the next LIV Golf tournament will be treated accordingly.

Koepka’s decision is not surprising – he used it by telegraph to a contemptuous press conference at the US Open last week outside Boston – but it is another LIV Golf victory in his credible fight against the established PGA Tour. Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, 31, ranked 20th in the men’s world rankings, also volunteered for the LIV Golf series on Tuesday.

Koepka, 32, who won four major championships between 2017 and 2019, has been injured and struggling for years. His place in the world dropped to No. 19 this week from No. 1 in 2019. In a slightly shocking turn of events, Koepka joins LIV Golf about 10 days after DeChambeau, his longtime rival, changed his allegiance. DeChambeau has also been plagued by health issues. Once viewed as a tough, changing game that attracted young fans with his sturdy height from the squad, DeChambeau has slipped from fourth place to 30th in the standings. 56th place. Koepka missed out on this year’s Masters Championship and finished out of the top 50 at the PGA Tournament last month with the US Open last week.

But Koepka’s departure however offers another unexpected momentum for LIV Golf, whose main shareholder is the Private Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s independent wealth fund. Just six weeks ago, there was almost total cohesion between the ranks of PGA Tour players.

Each cancellation of feedback sends a small tremor through the integrated community of PGA Tour players and it makes sense. Fear of being left behind can spread to the group, as to any other, especially as players continue to repeat their promises. Colleagues might think: Should I fly the ship now, before it is too late and the LIV golf deals are over?

Some perspective is needed. A large number of the best young players have remained loyal to the PGA Tour. Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas – listed first to fifth – confirm their commitment to the weekly PGA Tour. Morikawa did so again Tuesday time alikweet: “To say the record, once again, you are all completely wrong. I have said since February in the Riviera that I am here to stay on the PGA Tour and nothing has changed.

But it is easy to wonder how many new faces could be on the field by June 30, when LIV Golf makes its first appearance in the United States. A full list of participants is expected this week.

How many will be on the field when the first trip arrives at Trump’s National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, July 29? The tournament will take place after the mid-July British Open, this year’s final men’s golf championship.

What is known is that the pressure continues to rise on the PGA Tour in response to a reliable LIV Golf threat. And Jay Monahan, commissioner of the PGA Tour, has a plan to at least satisfy players who are interested in shorter schedules and higher incomes. (Tip: It looks as bad as the LIV Golf schedule and gift money.)

At a players’ meeting on Tuesday, according to several attendees, Monahan outlined the schedule for next year’s revised PGA Tour which will consist of eight events with a small and uninterrupted stadium, adding bags of at least $ 20 million to the top 50 players from the standings. the entire season of this year’s FedEx Cup. The men spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information being discussed.

LIV Golfers would no doubt be excluded. Payments for this year’s PGA Tour events vary widely, but the average total will be approximately $ 8.5 million.

The tour also plans for a season reduction that would give players more vacation time in the winter months, which in 2013-14 had a major expansion of the tournament. The increase has been unpopular with many players.

The latest proposal for the PGA Tour could prevent a rebel group from leaving the nest. Or, the tour could embrace the loss of some of the players, and given all the company’s sponsors and the custom it has in its corner, it will succeed due to the many remaining golfers. It still holds the most profitable cards, even if the LIV golf course still does not have a standard TV contract for its events. It really is not possible to be a sports entertainment option without one.

Maybe two golf tours will be available, at least temporarily. Golf is one of our most unpredictable sports. Maybe more change is coming. Nothing is more frequently seen recently on golf.

In a press conference on the eve of the US Open last week, Koepka was asked if he had made a “permanent decision” if he would participate in the LIV Golf series.

He replied: “Until last week. That’s all. ”

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