Another Top PGA Star Joins Saudi-Backed LIV Golf Series

By Jason Hall

June 21, 2022

PGA Championship - Round 2
Photo: Getty Images

Another major PGA star has joined the Saudi-Funded LIV Golf Series.

Four-time Major winner Brooks Koepka is the latest golf star to commit to the controversial golf event, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday (June 21).

A person briefed on Koepka's decision -- who spoke on the condition of anonymity without authorization to speak on behalf of the tour -- told the AP that the 32-year-old would still be able to compete on the PGA Tour until his first LIV Golf appearance.

The Telegraph in the United Kingdom initially reported Koepka's decision to join the LIV Golf series on Tuesday.

Koepka had previously spoken out against the new league in March 2020, telling the AP that he had "a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players" and added that "money isn't going to change my life."

Earlier this month, the PGA Tour suspended all 17 members who competed in the inaugural LIV Golf event, according to a copy of a memo announcing the punishment to players shared by Front Office Sports ahead of the event on June 9.

The announced disciplinary action came just as the 17 members and former members hit their opening tee shots in the inaugural event, which was held at Centurion Club outside of London.

The players suspended include all of the following, with an asterisk listed next to players who informed the PGA Tour that they resigned their membership:

  • Sergio Garcia*
  • Talor Gooch
  • Branden Grace*
  • Dustin Johnson*
  • Matt Jones
  • Martin Kaymer*
  • Graeme McDowell*
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Kevin Na*
  • Andy Ogletree
  • Louis Oosthuizen*
  • Turk Pettit*
  • Ian Poulter
  • Charl Schwartzel*
  • Hudson Swafford
  • Peter Uihlein
  • Lee Westwood*

"These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in the memo. "But they can't demand the same PGA TOUR membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners. You have made a different choice, which is to abide by the Tournament Regulations you agreed to when you accomplished the dream of earning a PGA TOUR card and -- more importantly -- to compete as part of the preeminent organization in the world of professional golf."

The memo added that players who compete in LIV events have been ruled as ineligible of competing on the PGA Tour or the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica, all of which are sanctioned by the organization.

"I am certain our fans and partners -- who are surely tired of all this talk of money, money and more money -- will continue to be entertained and compelled by the world-class competition you display each and every week, where there are true consequences for every shot you take and your rightful place in history whenever you reach that elusive winner's circle," Monahan wrote. "You are the PGA TOUR, and this moment is about what we stand for: the PGA TOUR membership as a whole. It's about lifting up those who choose to not only benefit from the TOUR, but who also play an integral role in building it.

"I know you are with us, and vice versa. Our partners are with us, too. The fact that your former TOUR colleagues can't say the same should be telling.

LIV Golf is supported by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is accused of violating numerous human rights violations, which included being linked to the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of his regime, in 2018.

LIV Golf is reported to have offered more than $100 million in signing bonuses and will feature 54-hole events, shotgun starts, no cuts and a team format in seven regular-season events, which will conclude in a team championship at Trump National Doral in Miami on October 27-30 offering a $50 million purse.

The regular-season winner will get $4 million, while the last-place finisher is due $120,000, ESPN reports.

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