Another PGA Tour star leaves for the Saudi Arabian-funded LIV Golf. Here’s who it is.
A week after criticizing questions put to him about the LIV Golf Invitational Series, four-time major winner Brooks Koepka has become the youngest golfer to reportedly resign from the PGA Tour and join the fledgling golf league, which is funded by Public Investment Fund supported by Saudi Arabia.
Koepka, who played in Florida State and is a native of West Palm Beach, told reporters on the eve of the United States Open that they are throwing a "black cloud" over the big championship being played at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Matthew Fitzpatrick won the thrilling tournament by a shot over world No. 1 Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler for his first major title.
On Tuesday, 32-year-old Koepka, a former world No. 1, left the PGA Tour in favor of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, according to various reports.
The Telegraph in London was the first to report Koepka's departure, although as of Tuesday morning he is still in the field for this week's PGA Tour stoppage.
"I'm here at the US Open," Koepka said last week, according to ESPN. "I'm ready to play the US Open and I also kinda suck that you all throw that black cloud over the US Open. It's one of my favorite events. I don't know why you keep doing this. The more legs you give [LIV Golf], the more you talk about it.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan previously suspended 17 players for attending the inaugural event of the LIV, which took place in London two weeks ago. With penalties for players not obtaining a tour permit with a conflicting event release, players have opted to cancel their PGA Tour memberships in order to join LIV Golf.
Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia are some of the well known names who have joined the LIV golf series. The LIV part of the name refers to the Roman numerals for 54 as the tournaments are played in a 54-hole format with no cut, meaning players are guaranteed a payday for the competition.
Players will be divided into teams, with a certain amount of prize money being awarded to the top three performing teams at each event. The format also features a shotgun start instead of the traditional tee-time setup. This means that not all players will start on the first hole or the 10th hole in full field events that require the use of split tees.
Johnson has a $150 million deal to take part in the LIV series, the Telegraph reported, while other players are receiving undisclosed amounts. According to various reports, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have turned down massive offers to take part in the new series, which features eight events in its debut year.
The next tournament will be held in Portland, Oregon. Only one event is held in Saudi Arabia, although funding comes from the country's public investment fund.
Criticism has hit the various players who have chosen LIV Golf due to possible "sports washing" and Mickelson was at a press conference answering various questions on the eve of the US Open where he missed the cut.
Mickelson withdrew from the first two majors that year, the Masters and the PGA Championship, after making comments criticizing the PGA Tour, and Saudi Arabia went public.
"They're scary moms to get involved with," Mickelson said, according to the Washington Post. “We know they (post-journalist Jamal Khashoggi) killed and have a terrible human rights record. They execute people there because they are gay. Knowing all this, why should I even consider it? Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”
At last week's press conference, Mickelson opened with an apology.
"There are many things I regret, and I'm sorry for the pain it's caused a lot of people," Mickelson said, according to NJ.com. “... I do not condone human rights violations at all. No one here does it... anywhere in the world. And I'm certainly aware of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and I think it's awful."
In addition to Koepka's departure, ESPN reported that Abraham Ancer, who retired from the US Open last week with an illness, is also leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.
The new tour has now included eight of the top 50 players in the world.
FILE - Brooks Koepka is shown after a birdie on the 13th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C. in this file photo Thursday, May 20, 2021. Brooks Koepka is back on tour, playing the first palmetto championship for his first tournament since the PGA Championship, and he's taken it to a new level since his apparent altercation with Bryson DeChambeau. (AP Photo/Matt York, file)
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