What was behind Brooks Koepka’s decision to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf?

What was behind Brooks Koepka’s decision to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf?

In 2019, the week that Brooks would lead wire-to-wire at the PGA Championship in Bethpage Black and capture a fourth major title in 23 months, Brooks understood why he thought he would become the most dominant player on the biggest golf stages. .

“(There are) 156 in the field,” he said, “so count on me to beat at least 80. From there you think about half of them aren’t going to play well. So you’re at about 35. And then from 35, some just… the pressure will be on them. You only have a few left and you just have to beat those guys.”

Koepka recently became one of those guys, others “I’m just going to beat.” A non-factor in this year’s majors and rarely in combat last year, Koepka is leaving the PGA Tour, be it due to injury, the distraction of planning a wedding or perhaps just past its peak, the PGA Tour. to join Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Series. †

The announcement came on Wednesday, after Koepka withdrew from the Travelers Championship late Tuesday.

Koepka, aged 32, is a big hit for the Saudi-backed series seeking credibility and attention, whose events are being shown on YouTube as there is no television deal. At LIV’s first event two weeks ago in London, only two golfers moving the needle were Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Add Bryson DeChambeau and Koepka for the upcoming event at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside Portland, Oregon, and now it has four.

But none of that matters to the twenty or so players who have defected from the PGA Tour and others who are struggling to find their way into the world of professional golf.

Why other golfers join Liv Golf

All that matters is the checks that come into their accounts. Everyone from Charl Schwartzel, who won $4.75 million for winning the individual title and being part of the winning team in London; Andy Ogletree, who took home $120,000 in prize money for shooting 24-over and finishing last in the 48-man field, is in LIV for one reason.

In two decades as a pro, Schwartzel never made $3 million in a year, including 2011 when he won the Masters. Ogletree’s career earnings in four years of touring events is $38,186.

Koepka’s decision certainly has to do with adding the $38 million he’s earned in PGA Tour prize money, plus millions more off-course, into his career. It also gives us a glimpse into the mind of a golfer who was once regarded as one of golf’s royalty, was ranked No. 1 in the world for 47 weeks, and was as feared as anyone who was not called Tiger Woods in recent memory. to the main subjects.

Now Koepka has done something completely opposite of what he had become known for on golf’s biggest stages: a steel, laser-focused, ultra-competitive champion.

He has run away from the competition.

Injuries have certainly played a part in his struggle, but he has been dealing with them for a number of years – be it his wrist, knee or hip. Perhaps Koepka just can’t handle his body, which prevents him from being a constant threat on the PGA Tour.

Or maybe he’s seen a group of talented players in their twenties—all about five years younger than Koepka—make their mark on the sport. Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Sam Burns, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris have all flown past Koepka in the world rankings.

What happened to the Brooks Koepka who just four months ago said it was “embarrassing” to become number 20 in the world? He is currently No. 19.

Old Brooks Koepka would have taken on that challenge, drawn the irreverent card he used so well during his run of four major championships in eight starts, and restored his status among the best in the world.

Koepka will earn millions with LIV golf events

Now Koepka is taking the easy money — he’s likely to receive close to $100 million to participate in the series — to play the remaining seven LIV events (the series hopes to expand next year) and whatever other LIV tournaments may be. welcome golfers.

All this is of course his right, but he is the one who has to accept the response for entering a competition supported by Saudi money. And knowing Koepka like many of us, he certainly doesn’t care about the backlash.

But Koepka will no longer be playing against the best in the world, except for a few majors a year possibly, and even that could be taken away. He has to accept that too.

That much is certain, Koepka would not have walked this road two or three years ago when there was a mystique at play.

And no one outside of Mickelson has handled this decision worse than Koepka. He will be forever remembered for calling out Mickelson for his “greed” comment, saying that LIV would get their boys because “somebody will sell it and go there”, insisting money doesn’t matter and “I just want play against the best.”

On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy, who has been as vocal as anyone in his loyalty to the PGA Tour, said he was surprised by Koepka’s decision, calling it “ambiguous” because of “what he said earlier”.

But now he can’t play PGA Tour events, including his hometown Honda Classic, which, to Koepka’s credit, was on his schedule every year. The greatest golfer ever born and raised in Palm Beach County exits the best, most competitive league in his sport. Of course, his four majors were historic, something he will and should be proud of for the rest of his life.

Those trophies still shine on Koepka’s bookshelves. It is his reputation that has been tarnished.

List

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2022 LIV Golf London

2022 LIV Golf London

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