ZB

Golf star originally against Saudi-funded series signs big money deal

Author
AP,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Jun 2022, 12:08pm
Brooks Koepka watches his shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open. Photo / AP
Brooks Koepka watches his shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open. Photo / AP

Golf star originally against Saudi-funded series signs big money deal

Author
AP,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Jun 2022, 12:08pm

Brooks Koepka, one of the first players to denounce a rival league for only 48 players, is the latest PGA Tour player to sign on with Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, The Associated Press has learned.

A person briefed on Koepka's decision told the AP said he still would be able to compete on the PGA Tour until he hits a shot on the LIV Golf circuit. The person spoke on condition of anonymity without authorization to speak on behalf of the tour.

The Daily Telegraph in the UK first reported Koepka's decision and that it could have got a similar US$150m up front fee that was agreed by Dustin Johnson.

Koepka remained in the field for the Travelers Championship, though he was not at a player meeting Tuesday morning at the TPC River Highlands. The next LIV Golf event starts June 30 outside Portland, Oregon.

Koepka was second player, behind Rory McIlroy, to speak out against a rival league in March 2020 when he told the AP, "I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players."

"Money isn't going to change my life," Koepka said at the time.

The proposed rival league was different from LIV Golf, presented as the "Premier Golf League" though still relying on Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. Greg Norman and LIV Golf took the idea of 48-man fields, no cuts with a team component.

LIV Golf has not announced Koepka's signing amid speculation that a few others were soon to join. ESPN Deportes reported over the weekend that Abraham Ancer of Mexico also was signing. Ancer is No. 20 in the world with one PGA Tour victory.

Koepka gives LIV Golf a big name with his four major titles — back-to-back in the U.S. Open (2017-18) and PGA Championship (2018-19), though his game has been in decline since then because of a series of injuries.

His last victory was the Phoenix Open in February 2021 and he has fallen to No. 19 in the world. In the majors this year, he missed the cut at the Masters and has finished out of the top 50 in the PGA Championship and U.S. Open.