In 2019, the week that Brooks Koepka would lead the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black and declare a fourth main title in 23 months, he broke down why he believed he would develop into essentially the most dominant participant on golf’s greatest phases.
He stated, “(There are) 156 people on the field, so you can imagine at least 80 of them I’m going to hit them. From there you see that half of them are not going to play well. So the number is down to about 35. Then from 35, only some of them. …press them.” It solely leaves you with just a few, and also you simply should defeat these guys.”
Koepka recently became one of those other “I am simply going to beat” guys. Koepka is no longer a factor in the majors this year and rarely a matter of controversy last year, whether due to injuries, the distraction of planning a wedding, or perhaps past his peak, he has left the PGA Tour to join the Greg Norman LIV Golf Series.
The announcement came Wednesday, after Koepka withdrew from the Travelers Championship late Tuesday.
Koepka, 32, is a big draw for the Saudi-backed, credibility- and attention-seeking series, whose events are shown on YouTube because it has no TV deal. The first LIV event happened two weeks ago in London with only two golfers participating, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Add Bryson DeChambeau and Koepka for the upcoming event at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside of Portland, Oregon, and now features four.
But none of this matters for the 20 or so players who have defected from the PGA Tour and others who are struggling to find a foothold in the world of professional golf.
Why other golfers join Lev Golf
All that matters are the checks that hit their accounts. Everyone from Charl Schwartzel, who won $4.75 million for winning a singles title and being part of the winning team in London; For Andy Ogletree, who took $120,000 in prize money for shooting over 24 times and finishing last on a 48-player field, he’s in the LIV for one reason.
In his two decades as a professional, Schwarzel has never won $3 million a year, including in 2011 when he won the Masters title. Ogletree’s career earnings in four years playing tour events are $38,186.
Koepka’s decision certainly has to do with adding the $38 million he earned in PGA Tour prize money, as well as millions more off the track, to his career. It also gives us a peek into the mind of a golfer who was once considered among the kings of golf, held the number one position in the world for 47 weeks and was as intimidating as anyone who changed his name Tiger Woods in recent history when it came to that. for specialties.
Now, Koepka has done something completely opposite of what he’s known for on golf’s biggest stages: a laser-focused, ultra-competitive steel champ.
He ran away from the competition.
Injuries certainly played a factor in his struggles, but he’s been dealing with those – whether it’s his wrist, knee or hip – for several years now. Koepka probably can’t handle his body and doesn’t allow him to be a constant threat on the PGA Tour.
Or perhaps he saw a group of talented players in their twenties – all about five years younger than Kopka – making their mark in the sport. Scotty Scheffler, John Ram, Colin Morikawa, Victor Hovland, Sam Burns, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatores overtook Koepka in the world ranking.
What happened to the Brooks Koepka family who just four months ago said it was “embarrassing” to be ranked No. 20 in the world? Currently it is number 19.
Brooks Koepka would have met that challenge, pulling the disrespect card he used so well during his career from four major tournaments in eight games, and re-establishing his place among the best in the world.
Koepka stands to win millions through LIV golf events
Now, Koepka is taking the easy money — potentially receiving close to $100 million to join the series — to play the remaining seven LIV events (the series hopes to expand next year) and any other tournaments that will welcome LIV golfers.
All this, of course, is his right, but it is he who has to accept the backlash to join a league backed by Saudi money. And knowing Koepka as many of us know, he certainly doesn’t care about backlash.
But Koepka no longer plays against the best in the world, with the possible exception of a few big players each year, and even that may be ruled out. This, too, he has to accept.
That’s for sure, Koepka wouldn’t have taken that path two or three years ago when there was a dark mystery in his game.
And no one outside Mickelson has handled this decision worse than Koepka. He will be remembered forever as he called on Mickelson for his “grasping” comment, saying LIV would get their men because “somebody would promote it and go for it”, insisting that money didn’t matter and “I simply wish to play towards one of the best.”
On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy, who has been as vocal as anyone in his loyalty to the PGA Tour, said he was surprised by Koepka’s decision, which he described as a “double” because of “what he stated earlier.”
But he’s now unable to play PGA Tour events, including his hometown Honda Classic, which, to Koepka’s credit, has been on his schedule every year. The best golfer born and raised in Palm Beach County leaves the best and most competitive league in his sport. Sure, his four majors were historical, something he would be – and should be – proud of for the rest of his life.
Those awards still shine, sitting on Koepka’s bookshelves. You tarnished his reputation.