Golf news LIV | Brooks Koepka tees up with LIV Golf after ‘selling-out’ the PGA

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4 months in the past, Brooks Koepka steered any gamers who defected from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf had been sellouts.

This week, he’ll tee up on the insurgent tour’s first American occasion in Oregon, having clearly modified his thoughts.

In February, he mentioned: “They will get their guys. Someone will promote out and go to it.”

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And this week: “Opinions change. I really feel very comfy with the choice I made. I am comfortable, and did what’s finest for me.”

Koepka cited a knee damage that has taken a toll on his physique and the need to spend extra time along with his household as components in his resolution. He didn’t point out the multimillion-dollar signing bonuses LIV Golf — which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund — has handed to gamers. Koepka is without doubt one of the greatest names, together with Dustin Johnson and six-time main champion Phil Mickelson.

LIV Golf’s American debut comes on the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Membership within the tiny Oregon city of North Plains, residence to only 3400 folks, the place members are boycotting the club in response to a plot to smuggle a Saudi teen facing a murder charge out of the country.

Earlier this month, former world No.1 and fellow four-time main winner Rory McIlroy steered Koepka and others had been duplicitous “to say one factor after which do one other factor.”

Koepka mentioned he can “suppose no matter he desires”. 

“He will do what’s finest for him and his household, I’ll do what’s finest for me and my household. Cannot hate on anyone for that, and like I mentioned, opinions change, man.”

Gamers who spoke to reporters on Wednesday (AEST) skirted questions on Saudi Arabia’s human rights file.

Bryson DeChambeau steered critics ought to simply ignore the Saudis’ previous sins, and give attention to “the nice that they’re doing and what they’re making an attempt to perform quite than trying on the unhealthy that is occurred earlier than”.

“I believe shifting on from that’s necessary, and going and persevering with to maneuver ahead in a constructive mild is one thing that might be a power for good for the way forward for the sport.”

Pat Perez, a three-time PGA Tour winner who additionally spoke towards LIV Golf earlier than altering his thoughts, mentioned he was “simply right here to play golf”.

“I’ve bought a possibility to play golf, and that is it. I perceive the subjects you are making an attempt to carry up, and so they’re horrible occasions, however I am right here to play golf. That is my deal.”

There’s clearly extra money to be made in LIV Golf than there may be the PGA Tour. The 48-man area will compete for a $29 million purse, with an extra $7.2 million prize fund for a group competitors. Charl Schwartzel received the inaugural occasion and took residence $6.9 million.

PGA Tour occasions are performed over 72 holes with a reduce after the second spherical. You miss the reduce, you go residence empty handed. LIV tournaments are performed over 54 holes with no reduce, and even the last-place finisher will get paid.

The comparatively quick period of the LIV Golf occasions has different implications. The Official World Golf Rating (OWGR) governing board will meet at St. Andrews in the course of the week of the British Open, the place it is anticipated to debate whether or not to award LIV Golf occasions world rating factors.

The OWGR tips point out a regular format of 72 holes, with 54 holes acceptable principally for developmental excursions or offseason sequence.

Tips additionally state tournaments should common a 75-man area over the course of the season. This might be an issue for a circuit that promotes 48-man fields. LIV Golf has invested $435 million into the Asian Tour and has 4 “Worldwide Sequence” tournaments this yr. It might declare these fields as a part of its league and attain the minimal.

Maybe the largest hurdle is a requirement {that a} new tour adjust to the rules for not less than one yr earlier than it will get admitted. LIV Golf has altered or delayed plans for a full schedule and set groups, and offering stability might be key in gaining approval.

However whereas LIV Golf meet none of this standards, the OWGR handbook additionally says the board can admit or reject any new tour no matter compliance and alter standards at its discretion. 

Even when LIV Golf does get accepted and is awarded rating factors, a change to the OWGR rating method as a consequence of begin in August, earlier than LIV’s fourth occasion, might minimise simply what number of factors are on supply.

The brand new system will decide the power of the sphere utilizing a calculation primarily based on a statistical analysis of each participant within the area, not simply these among the many present 200 on this planet. Gone would be the minimal factors awarded to varied excursions.

The Portland area has 13 gamers exterior the highest 200, which can point out the sphere could be very weak, and so if rating factors had been awarded, they’d not be large.

In an try and strengthen itself, quite than self-discipline gamers, the PGA Tour has introduced adjustments to qualification tips to hopefully introduce their subsequent stars sooner.

The PGA Tour is awarding 10 playing cards to European tour gamers, and is bringing again a direct path to the massive leagues from Q-school, in a 13-year deal that goes by 2035. The PGA Tour may also enhance its stake in European Tour Productions, the tour’s media and business department, from 15 per cent to 40 per cent.

It is going to additionally enable the highest European professionals extra entry to PGA Tour occasions, and grant the top-10 from annually full entry.

Thus far, the PGA Tour has sought to battle off the LIV Golf menace purely by self-discipline. The tour suspended each energetic member who competed within the first LIV occasion, and people who play in Oregon will face the identical destiny until they resign their tour memberships.

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