Four-time Grand Slam champion Brooks Koepka is the latest to reportedly quit the PGA Tour and join a winger backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a week after questioning the LIV Golf Invitational series against him. Golfers of the Rich Golf League.
Koepka, of Florida State University in West Palm Beach, told reporters on the eve of the U.S. Open that they were casting a “dark cloud” over the majors at Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts.
Matthew Fitzpatrick won his first by one stroke over Will Zalatoris and world number one Scottie Scheffler Grand Slam champion.
The 32-year-old former world No. 1 Koepka left the PGA Tour on Tuesday for the LIV Golf Invitational.
Koepka’s departure was first reported by The Daily Telegraph in London, although he was still on the PGA Tour roster this week as of Tuesday morning.
“I’m at the U.S. Open,” Koepka said last week, according to ESPN. “I’m ready for the U.S. Open, and I think it’s kind of bad, you’re all throwing a cloud over the U.S. Open. One of my favorite activities. I don’t know why you guys 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 participating in LIV’s inaugural event in London two weeks ago. Players have opted to terminate their PGA Tour membership to join LIV Golf due to sanctions imposed on players who were not approved by the Tour due to event posting conflicts.
Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia are some of the household names who have joined LIV’s golf series. The LIV part of the name references the Roman numeral 54 because the game is played in a 54-hole format with no cuts, meaning players are guaranteed a payday for the game.
Players are divided into groups, and some of the prize money from each event is distributed to the three best performing teams. The format also has a shotgun start instead of the traditional tee time setting. This means that not all players will start a full game with a split tee from the first or 10th hole.
According to The Telegraph, Johnson has a $150 million contract to join the LIV series, with other players receiving an undisclosed sum. According to various reports, both Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have turned down numerous offers to participate in the new series, which will feature eight events in its inaugural year.
The next game is in Portland, Oregon. Although funding came from the country’s public investment fund, only one event took place in Saudi Arabia.
Criticism has hit various players who opted to join LIV Golf for potentially “shuffling the deck,” and Mickelson answered various questions during a press conference on the eve of last week’s U.S. Open where he missed the cut.
Mickelson withdrew from the first two majors of the year, the Masters and the PGA Championship, after criticizing the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia for public comments.
“They were terrible mothers — involved,” Mickelson said, according to The Washington Post. “We know they killed (Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi) and had a terrible record of human rights. For the record. They execute people there because they are gay. Knowing all this, why should I even think about it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour works.”
During last week’s news conference, Mickelson opened with an apology.
““There are so many things that I regret, and I am sorry for the hurt it has caused so many people,” Mickelson said, according to NJ.com. “…I don’t condone human rights violations at all. No one here does it…worldwide. Of course I know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and I think it sucks.”
In addition to Koepka’s departure, ESPN reported that Abraham Ancer, who withdrew from the US Open last week due to illness, will also leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.
The new tour now has eight of the world’s top 50 players locked in.