Brooks Koepka said Sunday that he had no interest in the Premier Golf League, another setback for a championship that promises guaranteed money and a team concept that will now not have the top two players in the world.
“I’m out of the PGL. I’m going on the PGA Tour, “Koepka told the Associated Press.” I have a hard time believing that golf should be around 48 players. “
Rory McIlroy, who replaced Koepka at number 1 in the world a month ago, said last month in Mexico City that he was not interested in the new league. He said he appreciated his freedom to decide when and where to play instead of the proposed 18 tournament schedule, excluding the majors.
Koepka said he decided after a meeting with the organizers in Los Angeles a month ago during the Genesis Invitational, wishing to wait for a moment when any announcement would not become a distraction. At the start of the swing in Florida he said only that “I want to play against the best”.
With golf having stopped worrying about the new coronavirus, he wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Koepka, like McIlroy, cited the freedom he enjoys in the PGA Tour. He also spoke of most of the PGA Tour which he fears would be left out if all the attention was accumulated on the best stars competing in a team format.
“I understand that stars are what people come to see,” said Koepka. “But these guys we see winning, who have been grinding for 10 or 15 years, that’s what makes the stories interesting. It would be difficult for me to look at the boys and put them out of work.”
Koepka speaks from experience. Having failed to pass the second qualifying phase of the PGA Tour in 2012, he played in remote places on the Challenge Tour, got a European Tour card and eventually made it to the PGA Tour, where he won his first tournament in early 2015 .
“I don’t forget where I’m from,” said Koepka. “There are guys from that top 125 who could be the next star.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan made it clear to players in late January, when six years of league chatter started to gain momentum, that PGA Tour members couldn’t play both.
Monahan and the tour staff toured the last month, meeting the best players to get an idea of their position and to get to know what the tour did. The PGA Tour announced a media rights deal last month that would have been worth just over $ 7 billion over the next nine years.
Monahan said last week that he saw The Players Championship prize pool reach $ 25 million, and the post-season prize pool surpassed $ 100 million.
“Jay is incredible, the direction the tour is going,” said Koepka.
The idea of the championship was to reinvigorate golf by bringing together 12 teams of four players who were supposed to play 18 events – 10 of them in the United States – which featured 54 holes, no cuts and a rifle that was starting to adapt to a five hour window. transmission. The total prize pool would be $ 240 million and the best player could earn up to $ 50 million.
Koepka said that as much as you love the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup, “To have it every week, I’m struggling with that.”
“Golf isn’t just a team sport,” he said.
Koepka also said that his financial advisors had doubts about how the money, most of Saudi interests, would work.
“Ask some of these younger guys if they want to play for someone else,” he said, referring to how the rounds would be assigned to the 12 players who would get equity in their teams. “In the direction Jay is going on tour, they are interested in about 125 guys. Yes, the best guys do a lot for the tour. But there should be more than 48 players that people are tuning in to watch. “
In the end, however, he said he was happy with the career he already has.
“Money won’t change my life,” he said. “There is something to be said about the freedom to play. I can choose. It’s not worth it for me. I’m happy with the way things are. When life is good – and it’s really good – you don’t want to change it. I think the PGA Tour is beautifully managed. ”
McIlroy had said in Mexico last month that he “wants to be on the right side of the story on this.” He said all he could change his mind would be if all the best players decided to join, even if he didn’t see it happen.
Koepka said he thought it was a “real possibility” that the Premier Golf League could still happen. The organizers had targeted a start date no earlier than 2022.
But it won’t include it.
“I’m going to be playing the PGA Tour for the rest of my life,” said Koepka.