What was behind Brooks Koepka’s choice to depart the PGA Tour for LIV Golf?

In 2019, the week Brooks Koepka would lead wire-to-wire on the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black and seize a fourth main title in 23 months, he broke down why he believed he’d change into essentially the most dominant participant on golf’s greatest phases.

“(There are) 156 within the discipline,” he stated, “so you work a minimum of 80 of them I’m simply going to beat. From there you work about half of them will not play effectively. So that you’re all the way down to about perhaps 35. After which from 35, a few of them simply. … Strain goes to get to them. It solely leaves you with a number of extra, and you’ve got simply acquired to beat these guys. “

Koepka not too long ago has change into a kind of guys others “I’m simply going to beat.” A non-factor on this yr’s majors and barely in rivalry within the final yr, Koepka, whether or not due to accidents, the distraction of planning a marriage or perhaps simply being previous his peak, is leaving the PGA Tour to affix Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Sequence .

The announcement got here Wednesday, after Koepka withdrew from the Vacationers Championship late Tuesday.

Koepka, at 32, is an enormous get for the Saudi-backed collection trying to find credibility and a spotlight, one whose occasions are proven on YouTube as a result of it doesn’t have a tv deal. LIV’s first occasion two weeks in the past in London featured simply two golfers who transfer the needle, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Add Bryson DeChambeau and Koepka for the upcoming occasion at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Membership outdoors of Portland, Oregon, and now it has 4.

However none of that issues to the 20 or so gamers who’ve defected from the PGA Tour and others who’re struggling to seek out their footing on this planet {of professional} golf.

Why different golf gamers are becoming a member of Liv Golf

All that issues are the checks hitting their accounts. Everybody from Charl Schwartzel, who received $ 4.75 million for successful the person title and being part of the successful group in London; to Andy Ogletree, who took residence $ 120,000 in prize cash for capturing 24-over and ending final within the 48-man-field, is in LIV for one cause.

In 20 years as a professional, Schwartzel by no means received $ 3 million in a yr, together with 2011 when he received the Masters. Ogletree’s profession earnings in 4 years of taking part in tour occasions is $ 38,186.

Koepka’s choice definitely has to do with including to that $ 38 million he is earned in PGA Tour prize cash, plus tens of millions extra off the course, in his profession. It additionally provides us a peek into the thoughts of a golfer who at one time was thought-about amongst golf’s royalty, held the No. 1 rating on this planet for 47 weeks and was as feared as anybody not named Tiger Woods in latest historical past in the case of the majors.

Now, Koepka has accomplished one thing utterly reverse of what he had change into identified for on golf’s greatest phases: a steely, laser-like targeted, ultra-competitive champion.

He has run from the competitors.

Accidents definitely have performed a think about his struggles, however he is been coping with these – whether or not or not it’s his wrist, knee, hip – for a number of years now. Maybe Koepka simply can’t deal with his physique not permitting him to be a constant menace on the PGA Tour.

Or maybe he is seen a bunch of gifted gamers of their 20s — all about 5 years youthful than Koepka — making their mark within the sport. Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Sam Burns, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris all have zoomed previous Koepka on this planet rating.

What occurred to the Brooks Koepka who stated simply 4 months in the past it was “embarrassing” to be ranked no. 20 on this planet? Presently he’s No. 19.

The previous Brooks Koepka would have taken on that problem, pulled out the disrespect card he used so effectively throughout his run of 4 main championships in eight begins, and re-established his standing among the many finest on this planet.

Koepka stands to make tens of millions with LIV golf occasions

Now, Koepka is taking the straightforward cash⁠ —he probably is receiving within the neighborhood of $ 100 million to affix the collection⁠ — to play the remaining seven LIV occasions (the collection is hoping to broaden subsequent yr) and no matter different tournaments will welcome LIV golfers.

All this, in fact, is his proper, however he’s the one who has to just accept the backlash for becoming a member of a league backed by Saudi cash. And realizing Koepka as many people do, he definitely doesn’t care in regards to the blowback.

However Koepka now not might be taking part in in opposition to the perfect on this planet, with the doable exception of some majors annually, and even which may be taken away. That, too, he has to just accept.

This a lot is for certain, Koepka wouldn’t have taken this path two or three years in the past when there was a mystique to his recreation.

And nobody outdoors of Mickelson has dealt with this choice worse than Koepka. He’ll without end be remembered for calling out Mickelson for his “greed” remark, saying LIV would get their guys as a result of “any individual will promote out and go to it,” and insisting cash doesn’t matter and “I simply need to play in opposition to the perfect. ”

On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy, who has been as vocal as anybody in his loyalty to the PGA Tour, stated he was stunned with Koepka’s choice, calling it “duplicitous” due to “what he stated earlier.”

However now he’s unable to play PGA Tour occasions, together with his hometown Honda Basic, which, to Koepka’s credit score, was on his schedule yearly. The perfect golfer ever born and bred in Palm Seaside County is leaving the perfect, best league in his sport. Certain, his 4 majors have been historic, one thing he might be — and ought to be — happy with the remainder of his life.

These trophies nonetheless shine sitting on Koepka’s bookshelves. It is his repute that has been tarnished.

Sheet

The way it began vs. the way it’s going: Here is what professional golfers stated earlier than about LIV Golf, and what they’re saying now

2022 LIV Golf London

2022 LIV Golf London

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