By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Author
CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Brooks Koepka, one of many first gamers to denounce a rival league for less than 48 gamers, is the newest PGA Tour participant to signal on with the Saudi-funded LIV Golf collection, The Related Press has realized.
An individual briefed on Koepka’s choice informed The AP he nonetheless would be capable to compete on the PGA Tour till he hits a shot on the LIV Golf circuit. The individual spoke on situation of anonymity with out authorization to talk on behalf of the tour.
The Day by day Telegraph first reported Koepka’s choice.
It was one other step — and a giant title along with his 4 main championships — that added to the roster of the LIV Golf collection and invariably will result in no house for a number of the lesser-known gamers who competed within the inaugural occasion exterior London two weeks in the past.
Koepka withdrew late Tuesday evening from the Vacationers Championship, the PGA Tour mentioned. He was not at a participant assembly Tuesday morning on the TPC River Highlands. The following LIV Golf occasion begins June 30 exterior Portland, Oregon.
Koepka was the second participant, behind Rory McIlroy, to talk out in opposition to a rival league in March 2020 when he informed The AP, “I’ve a tough time believing golf ought to be about simply 48 gamers.”
“Cash is not going to vary my life,” Koepka mentioned on the time.
The proposed rival league was completely different from LIV Golf, introduced because the “Premier Golf League” although nonetheless counting on Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Greg Norman and LIV Golf took the concept of 48-man fields, no cuts with a workforce part.
LIV Golf has not introduced Koepka’s signing amid hypothesis that a couple of others have been quickly to affix. One was Abraham Ancer of Mexico, the Twentieth-ranked participant on the earth who gained a World Golf Championship final yr in a playoff, together with the Australian Open in 2018.
Ancer mentioned his choice was not taken flippantly and that becoming a member of LIV would enable him to provide again to the sport by serving to it develop in Mexico.
“I by no means might have imagined being on this place at this time,” he mentioned on Twitter.
The information was shocking to most gamers, just like Dustin Johnson on the preliminary LIV listing, as a result of Koepka had been so outspoken about it.
Jordan Spieth mentioned he was at a company outing final week with a number of prime gamers, Koepka included, all of them supportive of the PGA Tour on this turf conflict.
“He was one in every of them,” Spieth mentioned. “I am staying with J.T. (Justin Thomas) and we wakened at this time and have been like, ‘Wait — what?’ I would not have been stunned if he was like DJ from the get-go. I am simply stunned due to the place we have been final week.”
The event got here because the PGA Tour held a participant assembly on the Vacationers Championship, throughout which Commissioner Jay Monahan spoke of the tour’s place and plans to reshape the season and its tournaments.
Based on two gamers within the assembly, the PGA Tour plans to return to a calendar season that will begin in January, and solely the highest 70 gamers can be eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. They spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the assembly was for gamers.
At the moment, the highest 125 make the postseason, with the highest 70 advancing to the second playoff occasion and the highest 30 to the Tour Championship. The brand new plan is for the highest 70 at first, then prime 50 and prime 30.
The autumn can be used for gamers past seventieth to safe playing cards for the next yr, though analysis confirmed most inside the highest 100 can be protected.
The tour was nonetheless three fall occasions for restricted fields, together with eight tournaments in the course of the common season that will provide spiked purses within the vary of $20 million. A few of these into account have already got the largest purses.
LIV Golf was anticipated to announce as many as 4 new gamers this week. There was countless hypothesis in the course of the U.S. Open involving greater than a dozen names, a few of whom have expressed little interest in going.
That led two-time main champion Collin Morikawa to put up on Twitter, “To state for the document, as soon as once more, you all are completely mistaken. I’ve mentioned it since February at Riviera that I am right here to remain on the PGA Tour and nothing has modified.”
Koepka’s youthful brother, Chase, who’s No. 1,607 on the earth rating, performed within the inaugural LIV occasion exterior London.
Brooks Koepka chastised the media at The Nation Membership final week for questions in regards to the Saudi-funded league.
“I’m right here on the U.S. Open. I’m able to play U.S. Open, and I feel it sort of sucks, too, you might be all throwing this black cloud over the U.S. Open,” he mentioned. “I don’t know why you guys hold doing that. The extra legs you give it, the extra you retain speaking about it.”
Koepka gained back-to-back within the U.S. Open (2017-18) and PGA Championship (2018-19), although his recreation has been in decline since then due to a collection of accidents.
His final victory was the Phoenix Open in February 2021 and he has fallen to No. 19 on the earth. Within the majors this yr, he missed the lower on the Masters and completed out of the highest 50 within the PGA Championship and U.S. Open.
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