GOLF

Report: Brooks Koepka the latest to join Saudi-backed LIV series

Jun 21, 2022, 9:36 AM
Brooks Koepka reacts to his shot off the 12th tee during the final round of the PGA Championship go...

Brooks Koepka reacts to his shot off the 12th tee during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament, Sunday, May 19, 2019, at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Brooks Koepka, one of the first players to denounce a rival league for only 48 players, is the latest PGA Tour player to sign on with Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, The Associated Press has learned.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach also reported the move on Tuesday morning.

A person briefed on Koepka’s decision told the AP said he still would be able to compete on the PGA Tour until he hits a shot on the LIV Golf circuit. The person spoke on condition of anonymity without authorization to speak on behalf of the tour.

The Daily Telegraph in the UK first reported Koepka’s decision.

Koepka remained in the field for the Travelers Championship, though he was not at a player meeting Tuesday morning at the TPC River Highlands. The next LIV Golf event starts June 30 outside Portland, Oregon.

Koepka was second player, behind Rory McIlroy, who speak out against a rival league in March 2020 when he told the AP, “I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players.”

“Money isn’t going to change my life,” Koepka said at the time.

The proposed rival league was different from LIV Golf, presented as the “Premier Golf League” though still relying on Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Greg Norman and LIV Golf took the idea of 48-man fields, no cuts with a team component.

LIV Golf has not announced Koepka’s signing amid speculation that a few others were soon to join. ESPN Deportes reported over the weekend that Abraham Ancer of Mexico also was signing. Ancer is No. 20 in the world with one PGA Tour victory.

Koepka gives LIV Golf a big name with his four major titles — back-to-back in the U.S. Open (2017-18) and PGA Championship (2018-19), though his game has been in decline since then because of a series of injuries.

His last victory was the Phoenix Open in February 2021 and he has fallen to No. 19 in the world. In the majors this year, he missed the cut at the Masters and has finished out of the top 50 in the PGA Championship and U.S. Open.

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Report: Brooks Koepka the latest to join Saudi-backed LIV series