Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is golf’s latest star to spurn the PGA Tour for LIV Golf, according to multiple reports. In doing so, Koepka has joined Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson as the biggest names to join the rival Saudi Arabia-backed tour.
Koepka gives LIV Golf even more momentum as the PGA Tour attempts to rally the troops at the Travelers Championship this week. There is a players-only meeting on Tuesdayand it is believed that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will speak on Wednesday.
According to the Telegraph, Koepka received a similar seven-figure deal as the one received by Mickelson, DeChambeau and Johnson when they jumped over.
Koepka is the second-highest ranked player to have joined the league. Johnson is currently ranked No. 16 in the Official World Golf Rankings, while Koepka is No. 19.
Koepka’s move could be foreshadowing of more to come. Rumors coursed the veins of the 2022 US Open at Brookline last week, suggesting Koepka will not be the last name announced ahead of the LIV Golf event set to be hosted in Portland next week. In fact, he’s almost certainly not the last top 20 player in the world to be announced.
Koepka’s brother, Chase, was part of the first event in London at the Centurion Club, and that factors in to all of this.
Last week at the US Open, Koepka was not pleased with the line of questioning he received about LIV, but he was not adamant about his commitment to the PGA Tour, either. In retrospect, it was easy to see this coming (heck, in the momentum it was easy to see it coming).
“There’s been no other option to this point, so where else are you going to go?” he asked.
When pushed about LIV, Koepka got defensive.
“As of last week,” he said. “That’s it. I wasn’t playing last week. I’m here. I’m here at the US Open. I’m ready to play US Open, and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the US Open. It’s one of my favorite events. I don’t know why you guys keep doing that.
“The more legs you give it, the more you keep talking about it.”
He was even more defensive later in the press conference.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “I’m trying to focus on the US Open, man. I legitimately don’t get it. I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff. Like I said, y’all are throwing a black cloud on the US Open. I think that sucks. I actually do feel bad for them for once because it’s a shitty situation. We’re here to play, and you are talking about an event that happened last week.”
With Koepka’s departure, LIV has rounded up all the PGA Tour villains. DeChambeau, Reed, Koepka and even players like Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter have all at some point in their careers been considered antiheroes. It has created an interesting good vs. bad dynamic between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, which is among the several dozen interesting storylines as the future of professional golf continues to be redefined.