Brooks Koepka joins Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series ahead of PGA Tour ban

Brooks Koepka joins Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series ahead of PGA Tour ban

Brooks Koepka - Brooks Koepka will leave the PGA Tour and join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series - GETTY IMAGES

Brooks Koepka – Brooks Koepka will leave the PGA Tour and join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series – GETTY IMAGES

Brooks Koepka will be announced as the latest high-profile signing on the Saudi rebel circuit and will play in the first LIV Series event on American soil next week.

The four-time big winner is joining brother Chase on Greg Norman’s breakaway tour and will almost certainly be banned from the PGA Tour as a result. His LIV debut in Portland, Oregon will be another blow to the US Ryder Cup team, who will face five members of the 2018 team and three from 2021, being deemed ineligible for next year’s match in Rome.

Koepka, 32, has been in talks with the Saudi-funded series for months and sources have confirmed the deal has finally been delivered. Dustin Johnson, another former world No 1, has signed for an initial fee of £120 million ($150 million) and Koepka will also have a seven-figure sum as he takes his place alongside not only Johnson but Phil as well. Mickelson, Sergio García, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Abraham Ancer, who was revealed as a catch on Tuesday.

Acer, the 31-year-old Mexican, is not the biggest name, but he is number 20 in the world and has great potential, having broken his duck on the PGA Tour in Augusta by winning the World Golf Championship event in Memphis.

Acer is believed to be earning over £50m and he said it gives him “an opportunity to give back to the game and help it flourish in my home country”.

It will be interesting to see if LIV makes any big moves in the long ‘feud’ between Koepka and DeChambeau. Tensions have eased between the two – they fought a made-for-TV showdown last year – but there’s clearly no love lost and their feud presents obvious obstacles to Norman’s endeavor, which tries to attract eyeballs.

The LIV roster is getting stronger by the week and will worry the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour – formerly the European Tour – which were on the upswing after an exciting US Open over the weekend, which apparently highlighted the need for the sport. put glory before money.

Anyone who still regards the series as an irrelevant spectacle for golfers on the decline should perhaps look at Ancer’s profile and consider that of the last 21 majors, nine have been won by golfers under contract to LIV. And that number is set to increase with other top 20 players who are supposedly in the pipeline.

‘It’s kind of annoying that you throw that cloud over the US Open’

Koepka’s move comes less than a week after the world number 19 lashed out at journalists for questioning him about LIV in preparation for a major.

“I’m ready to play the US Open, and I find it kind of annoying that all of you are throwing this dark cloud over the US Open,” said Koepka, who has won the US national championship twice. “I don’t know why you guys keep doing this. The more legs you give, the more you keep talking about everything.” Koepka also said he was playing on the PGA Tour because “there’s no other option.”

There were rumors that Collin Morikawa, the reigning Open champion, was also ready to jump, but the 25-year-old emphatically denied it on social media. “For the record, once again…I’m here to stay on the PGA Tour and nothing has changed,” he posted.

LIV will release the vast majority of its 48-player field on Wednesday for next week’s $25 million event at Pumpkin Ridge, with some spots to be kept empty for late additions.

Koepka is actually listed in this week’s PGA Tour tournament in Connecticut – the ironically named Travelers Championship – but he didn’t attend the mandatory players’ meeting held at the TPC River Highlands on Tuesday morning.

Jay Monahan, the tour commissioner, discussed plans for a maximum of four $20 million “Fall Series” events featuring the Tour’s top 50 prize list. Without a cut, familiarity with the LIV model has not gone unnoticed and is a transparent and understandable maneuver to maintain top performances on the circuit.

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