Brooks Koepka loves to show off his honesty. He prides himself on being bold and outspoken as well as his impressive record in major tournaments.
He does not shy away from criticism if he feels that it is justified. Kupka once accused Patrick Reed of cheating by “building sandcastles” In a dumpster in the Bahamas. He left no doubt about his feelings for Bresson Deschamps’ long list.
“I will always speak my mind and tell you what I think, and I think everyone in this room knows that,” he said on PGA Championship preview day in 2020.
And now he has a chance to tell the truth about his decision to go back on his word and join the Saudi-funded rebel league. Known as LIV Golf.
It is about money. Simply.
This is not “a power for good,” the message Greg Norman was trying to preach, and it has been repeated by many dummies. The 22 former or soon-to-be suspended PGA Tour members in Oregon for the LIV Golf Invitational are not there to format innovative, test themselves against the best, or even win championships.
They get paid an obscene amount of money.
Koepka was the latest example that everyone has a price. He said it himself four months ago at the Honda Classic.
This was one week after Phil Mickelson went into hiding after his inflammatory remarks about the Saudis and the PGA Tour, after Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau said they were holding out for the PGA Tour, after Rory McIlroy declared the Rebel League “dead in the water.”
“I think there is still talk.” Koepka said. “Everyone talks about money. They’ve had enough of it. I don’t see it holding back. They can just double up and find out. They’ll have their youth. Someone will sell and go for it.”
And it turns out that this person is.
Mickelson showed his hand months ago in two interviews when he accused the PGA Tour of ‘hateful greed’ He said that he and a few other top players had appointed lawyers To write a new league operation agreement. Joining LIV Golf was no surprise.
Johnson was the biggest fish Shark fell. The temptation was strong the whole time, and then he got an offer he couldn’t ignore. The Daily Telegraph reports that his signing fee is $150 million. That’s double Johnson’s career earnings after 15 years on the tour.
In some ways, Koepka went back on his word twice.
He was the second player, behind McIlroy, to speak out against the concept of a “Premier League of Golf” that had Saudi funding and the promise of big fortunes, team form, limited playing fields – all Norman now offered.
“I find it hard to believe that golf should only have about 48 players,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press., right before golf was halted for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Money won’t change my life,” he said. “There is something to be said about the freedom to play. I have to choose. For me, it is not worth it. I am happy with how it is going.”
That was more than two years ago.
Then in Phoenix this year, Koepka said, “It’s been very clear for a long time that I’m with the PGA Tour, where I’m staying. I’m very happy. I think they’re doing things the right way, the people I want to do business with.”
But that’s not what led McIlroy to say that Koepka was “doubled up” by saying one thing and doing another.
McIlroy wasn’t part of the Rolex rally at the US Open, but he did hear about it. The star list of that day included Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler and Koepka. They talked about being on the same page in support of the PGA Tour and speaking with one voice against the Saudi-funded league.
Koepka was said to be leading the attack. Then it was not.
Everyone has a price.
“I was at an event with him last week and that certainly wasn’t what he had in mind,” Scheffler said last week at the Travelers Championship. “We’ve been focused on building the PGA Tour and getting the guys staying here together and sort of just having conversations and seeing how we can help capitalize on the tour.”
Scheffler was quick to add that he would not criticize Koepka or anyone else for leaving for guaranteed money. Scheffler has made over $13 million this season, already a PGA Tour record, thanks to an incredible run.
Players who won’t be recognized at a restaurant outside their hometown get even more to sign up with LIV Golf. It’s up to them to juggle the source of the money and whether they take the easy pathas McIlroy suggested.
Golf is still tough. It’s easy money. There is nothing wrong with saying that.
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