The turbulent times for the PGA Tour rolled on Tuesday as yet another one of its big-name stars was poised to join the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf Invitational Series, according to The Telegraph.
The United Kingdom paper reports that Brooks Koepka will enlist with the controversial Saudi-backed tour, joining the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and other stars the game who already have defected.
Koepka, who has won four major championships, notably scrubbed the PGA Tour from his social media platforms. He’s expected, according to the report, to play in the next LIV Golf event, next week outside of Portland, Ore.
The 32-year-old Koepka is a big get for LIV Golf considering that, like his rival DeChambeau and Johnson, he’s in the prime of his career. Some of the other players who have joined LIV Golf are 40 years of age or older.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, meanwhile, held a mandatory player meeting on Tuesday morning at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., to discuss, among other things, a condensed fall schedule with much larger purses. Koepka is still in the field for the Travelers, though he was not at the meeting.
According to ESPN, a revamped schedule could be approved for 2023 that will include “increased purses worth at least $20 million in at least eight existing marquee events.” There also reportedly will be three new events with purses of at least $25 million that would be similar to LIV Golf events — smaller fields and no cuts.
Two players at the meeting told the AP the PGA Tour plans to return to a calendar season that would start in January and the FedEx Cup playoffs would be eligible for only for the top 70 players. Currently, the top 125 make the postseason.
The fall would be used for players beyond 70th to secure cards for the following year, although research showed most inside the top 100 would be safe.
Also of note is the fact that Koepka’s younger brother, Chase, a fledgling pro who has been fighting to earn his PGA Tour card for status to play on that tour, is already a LIV member, having played in its inaugural event two weeks ago.
Koepka was the second player, after Rory McIlroy, to speak out against a rival league in early 2020 when he told the AP, “I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players.”
“Money doesn’t matter,” Koepka said at the time.
“If somebody gave me $200 million tomorrow it’s not going to change my life. What am I going to get out of it? I already have [enough money] that I could retire right now, but I don’t want to. I just want to play golf.”
A two-time U.S. Open winner, Koepka was vocal during last week’s Open in criticizing those in the media who were asking questions about LIV, saying it was casting a “black cloud’’ over the major.
“I don’t understand, I’m trying to focus on the U.S. Open, man,’’ Koepka, who finished 12-over and tied for 55th, said indignantly. “I legitimately don’t get it. I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff.
“I’m here at the U.S. Open, I’m ready to play the U.S. Open, and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the U.S. 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.’’
Well, Koepka has apparently given LIV Golf more legs.
Mickelson has reportedly been paid $200 million by LIV, Johnson a reported $125 million and DeChambeau $100 million. It’s not known what Koepka’s number is. But he has earned $37.9 million in career prize money to date on the PGA Tour, and the guaranteed money from LIV will likely be at least double, and possibly triple. that figure.
Monahan has suspended all 17 PGA Tour member players who played in the first LIV event outside of London and is expected to do the same for golfers, such as DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer (who announced his jump to LIV on Tuesday) and Koepka, who have subsequently joined. The news was as surprising to most players, similar to Dustin Johnson on the initial LIV list, because Koepka had been so outspoken about it.