Since March, Brooks Kopka has vehemently denied that he would consider joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
“Money won’t change my life,” Kopka said sarcastically at the time. As recently as two weeks ago, Kopka was still telling his teammates that he was not interested in leaving the PGA Tour.
On Tuesday, it deviated from rival LIV Golf Circuit, which will hold its second event outside Portland, Ori, starting June 30.
What has changed for Kopka? It is safe to say that there are more than 100 million reasons to reverse this path, as other former PGA Tour players such as Phil McLaughlin, Dustin Johnson and Bryson de Chambeau have reportedly given up nine figures to align with LIV Golf. Contracts won. The new circuit promises a limited, short schedule that gives golfers more flexibility and hosts uninterrupted tournaments in which each player is guaranteed a hefty salary.
But earlier this month, every player entering the inaugural LIV golf event outside of London was suspended via the PGA Tour, and so will those participating in future LIV golf tournaments.
Kopka’s decision comes as no surprise – he telegraphed it with a satirical news conference at the US Open outside Boston last week – but it was a battle of faith against the LIV Golf-founded PGA Tour. And victory. Mexico’s Abraham Anser, 31, ranked 20th in the men’s world, also pledged his LIV golf series on Tuesday.
Kopka, 32, who has won four major championships between 2017 and 2019, has been struggling with injuries for years. Its global ranking has risen from No. 1 in 2019 to No. 19 this week. Ironically, Koepka is joining LIV Golf about 10 days after De Chambo, his longtime opponent, changed his allegiance. De Chambo also has health problems. Once seen as a hard-hitting, game-changing trend that captivated young fans with its daring length away from the tee, de Chambeo dropped from fourth to 30th in the rankings. He was a thinker at last week’s US Open, finishing 56th. Kopka missed out on a cut at this year’s Masters tournament and was out of the top 50 at last month’s PGA Championship and last week’s US Open.
But the release of Kopka nevertheless provides another significant impetus for LIV golf, with a major stakeholder being the Private Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Just six weeks ago, there was an almost universal solidarity in the ranks of the PGA Tour players.
Every reversal of opinion sends a slight shock and meaning to the close community of PGA Tour players. Fear of being left behind can spread in a group, as with someone else, especially when players keep backing up. His teammates might consider: Should I jump in right now, before it’s too late and LIV Golf’s top contracts expire?
Some perspective is needed. The vast majority of the best young players have been loyal to the PGA Tour. Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas – already in fifth place – confirm their commitment to the PGA Tour Weekly. Morikawa did the same thing again on Tuesday He tweeted“For the record, once again, you’re all wrong. I’ve said in Riviera since February that I’ve been here on the PGA Tour and nothing has changed.
But it’s easy to imagine how many new faces will be on the field by June 30, when LIV Golf will have its first show in the United States. The full list of entrants is expected this week.
How many people will be on the field when the Trump National Golf Club’s Upstart Tour arrives on July 29 in Bedminster, NJ? The tournament will take place after the British Open in mid-July, the last of this year’s major men’s golf championships.
What is known is that pressure is mounting on the PGA Tour to respond to the credible threat posed to LIV golf. And PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has a framework plan for partially satisfying players with minimal schedules and high earnings. (Hint: It sounds awful like a LIV golf schedule and prize money.)
A quick guide to the LIV Golf Series
A new series. The first event of the new Saudi-funded, controversial LIV Golf Series took place in June. But what is it? Who is playing this? What is all the hub, and how can you see it? Here’s what to know:
At a players’ meeting on Tuesday, which was attended by several people, Monahan outlined a significantly revised PGA Tour schedule for next year, which will consist of eight events, including limited fields and no. There will be no deductions, and at least a $ 20 million purse increase. Top 50 players in this year’s season-long FedEx Cup standings. People spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the details under discussion.
LIV golfers will be explicitly excluded. Payments for this year’s PGA Tour events vary widely, but the average total will be around .5 8.5 million.
The tour is also planning a contraction of the season, which will give players more time in the autumn months, which saw a significant expansion in tournaments in 2013-14. This increase has been largely unpopular with many players.
The PGA Tour’s latest proposal could stem the tide of rebels who once left its quiet nest. Or, the tour could absorb the loss of some players, and with all the corporate sponsors and tradition that is in its corner, most golfers can be happy with the rest. It still has the most lucrative cards, not least because LIV Golf Circuit still doesn’t have a mainstream TV contract for its events. Without one, it would be virtually impossible for sports entertainment to become a viable option.
The two golf tours may be together, at least for a while. Golf is one of our most unpredictable sports. Maybe more change is coming. Nothing seems permanent in golf lately.
At his news conference at the US Open last week, Kopka was asked if he had made a “permanent decision” to participate in the LIV Golf Series.
He replied: “Like last week. That’s it.”