Rory McIlroy has accused Brooks Koepka of being “double” for joining the Saudi rebel ring as the PGA Tour announced a radical overhaul to stop the exit, with Commissioner Jay Monahan calling the LIV series an “absurd threat”. .
The Telegraph Sport revealed exclusively on Tuesday that Koepka, the four-time winner, is the latest big name to sign a seven-figure, four-year contract with LIV and will appear at next week’s $ 25 million tournament in Portland, Oregon.
McIlroy is not impressed after Koepka’s previous strong opposition in the breakaway league.
“I’m surprised by many of these guys because they say one thing and then do another, and I do not understand,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “I do not know if this is for legal reasons or if they can not… But it is very ambiguous for them to say one thing and then do something else.”
Asked if he was referring to what Koepka said a year or a month ago, McIlroy replied: “All the way, publicly and privately – all that.”
The Telegraph Sport learned that just 10 days ago, Koepka assured a PGA Tour colleague that he would not be participating in the LIV and this hit with his statements to the media.
Last week, he accused reporters of throwing “a black cloud” over the US Open, asking him about the LIV, arguing that investigators were giving him “legs” in the series by continuing to cover it.
He previously told the Associated Press: “I find it hard to believe that golf should be around 48 players. Money will not make me happy. I just want to play against the best. If someone gives me $ 200 million tomorrow, it’s not going to change my life. I have enough to retire tomorrow. “I just want to play golf.”
The 32-year-old Koepka also expressed doubts that playing in the LIV series would keep the players “sharp” for the adults. However, the preliminary scrutiny by the organizers – believed to be in excess of 100 100 million – was clearly too much to resist.
McIlroy has taken one of the toughest stances among those who remain loyal to the PGA tour, calling Phil Mickelson, the de facto on-course leader of the LIV, “selfish, selfish and ignorant” in February. But now there seems to be more anger in the locker rooms of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour and their players are starting to activate the LIV revolutionaries in greater numbers.
Justin Thomas, No. 7 in the world, hit Koepka by linking Bryson DeChambeau’s longtime enemy by posting a photo of the couple above a message saying “I could not live without each other” while Eddie Pepperell, the DP The winner of the World Tour, admitted in an interview at the weekend that he influenced his friendship with Laurie Canter, who played at the first LIV event in Hertfordshire two weeks ago. Pepperell also said that “Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter do not accept —” about the impact this could have on younger players’ careers.
Far from standing up against this kind of internal strife and the escalation of a civil war into the famous noble sport, Monahan made it clear at a mandatory meeting of players in the Travelers’ Championship on Tuesday that he wanted his members to “get off the fence and to fight for your tour “.
Monahan issued immediate and indefinite exclusions to the 17 Tour players who put it on Hemel Hempstead and in an email to players on Wednesday, Monahan secretly said “invest in your organization”.
With Koepka being four of the world’s top 25 on the LIV roster – Mexican Abraham Ancer unveiled on Tuesday, with Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen at the opening event – Monahan’s anxiety is understandable. Of the last 21 major leagues, nine have won LIV golfers.
LIV finally formalized Koepka’s move by issuing a press release Wednesday afternoon, just as Monahan was starting a press conference at the TPC River Highlands. Monahan, who attended Koepka’s wedding last month, did not hold back.
“If it is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollars, the PGA Tour can not compete with a foreign monarchy that spends billions of dollars trying to buy the game of golf,” he told reporters.
“We welcome good competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. “It’s an absurd threat.”
A fortnight ago, Monahan said the LIV was “just money, money, money” that matched his call for professionals to think about their heritage and not their fate. However, the review introduced by Monahan ensures transparency that the top players are better rewarded and, as a result, will not be so willing to run for the millions of Saudi Arabia. Monahan described the changes, revealed by the Telegraph Sport earlier this week.
First, there is a huge $ 54 million increase in wallets for eight selected events, ranging from $ 5 million to $ 25 million for the Players’ Championship and $ 8 million to $ 20 million for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Second, there will be the formation of an Autumn Series of three tournaments that will also have wallets from $ 20 million to $ 25 million and, more specifically, will contain only the top 50 players in that year’s FedEx Cup standings. As in the LIV series, it will not have a cut.
Third, the PGA Tour season will no longer be a spin-off period, but instead will run from January to August 2024. The last months of the year will include not only the Fall Series, but also tournaments in which players who do not made the limited Facts fight to maintain their gaming privileges.
This will please those like McIlroy, who has stated his desire to “have an off-season”. However, how this will affect the DP World Tour Race To Dubai from September to November remains to be seen.
This will be considered the day the PGA tour was counterattacked, but Monahan knows that in his quest to capture the LIV leak, he needs the majors to support him and close their doors to the guerrillas.
R&A confirmed on Wednesday that any player who has qualified will be allowed to play in next month’s Open Championship in St Andrews. This means that there are no LIV bans. But Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive, who has made little mention of his views on LIV, made a subtle digression into Greg Norman’s business in the final proposal statement.
“We will invest the proceeds of the Open, as we always do, for the benefit of golf, which reflects our goal of ensuring that the sport thrives 50 years from now,” he said.
Norman, LIV’s chief executive, later mocked Monahan. “The tour today made the case for LIV Golf,” Norman told the Telegraph Sport. “They have poorly paid players for years, they have not been able to innovate and today they confirmed that the LIV format is better … Instead of banning players, the Tour should now work to coexist with us. “After all, we’re just starting.”