Brooks Koepka reportedly leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf
Koepka, 32, was the No. 1 golfer in the world by Official World Golf Ranking as recently as 2019, and his stretch between 2017 and 2019 was one of the most dominant in recent memory. He has won four majors in eight starts at one point and has 11 other top 10 majors in his career. But he’s been held back by hip, knee and wrist injuries in recent years, and he’s finished no better than 55th in all three majors this season, with a missed cut at the Masters. Now ranked 19th in the world – making him the highest-ranked golfer in LIV behind No. 16 Dustin Johnson – Koepka hasn’t played in a non-major tournament since late March. He will join his lower-ranking brother, Chase, on the new circuit.
More departures are expected this week, but on Tuesday two-time major winner Collin Morikawa – one of the PGA Tour’s top young stars – said rumors he was leaving for LIV were “misguided” and that he was “here to stay” on the PGA Tour.
Ahead of last week’s US Open, Koepka called talk of the LIV series a distraction and lambasted reporters for continuing to ask about the topic.
“I’m here at the US Open,” Koepka told reporters when asked about the new league. “I’m ready to play the US Open, and I think it sucks too, y’all are throwing this dark cloud over the US Open. It’s one of my favorite events. I don’t know why y’all keep going to do that. The more legs you give [LIV Golf]the more you keep talking about it.
“I’m trying to focus on the US Open, man,” Koepka continued. “I legitimately don’t understand. I’m tired of the conversations. I am fed up with all that. Like I said, you all cast a dark cloud over the US Open. I think that sucks. In fact, I feel bad for the [USGA] for once because it’s a shitty situation. We are here to play and you are talking about an event that happened last week.
Koepka made the cut at the US Open but was no threat to win after a dismal weekend, finishing 55th. He is still listed as on the court for this week’s PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was on hand Tuesday morning, and held a players-only meetingapparently to discuss the LIV threat.
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Saudi-funded LIV Golf reportedly paid players such as Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed hundreds of millions of dollars just to join the new league, which offers a lighter schedule; shorter, seamless tournaments; and guaranteed cash prizes. In response, the PGA Tour announced earlier this month that all players who join the league will have their tour privileges revoked.
For now, however, LIV golfers are permitted to play in golf’s four major tournaments, which are not run by the PGA Tour. That could change if the Official World Golf Rankings don’t recognize the new circuit, as most players earn entry to the majors through their rankings. LIV Golf Investments CEO Greg Norman said on Saturday that the new circuit is applying to the OWGR for accreditation. Without it, LIV golfers will see their rankings plummet, making it unlikely that they will qualify for major tournaments unless they are past champions.
LIV Golf has been accused of ‘sportswashing’ human rights abuses by the Saudi regime, including the CIA’s finding that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the 2018 assassination of the Saudi dissident and columnist from the Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi. Norman and other LIV supporters countered that the new series would be good for the sport by giving golfers themselves more control over their careers and finances.