Brooks Koepka should want a nap. Per week in the past, he advised reporters, he’d barely heard of LIV Golf; on Tuesday morning he reportedly dedicated to becoming a member of the Saudi Arabia–funded tour. In between he stumbled to fifty fifth place on the U.S. Open as reporters distracted him with unfair questions. What an exhausting seven days!
Or — it is a wild conspiracy idea, however bear with us — possibly Koepka knew all alongside what he needed to do however lacked the braveness of his convictions to take care of the fallout. However that will by no means occur, particularly for a person who described himself this manner on Friday: “I am fairly assured, however I really feel like all people needs to be assured in themselves, and should you’re not — individuals hate confidence. That is why individuals aren’t a giant fan of me.”
He has given himself a possibility to check that idea. Followers in Brookline, Massachusetts, final week didn’t appear to activate Phil Mickelson, who has develop into probably the most distinguished face of an enterprise run by — Mickelson’s phrases — “scary motherf——s.” Mickelson mentioned that, then took 4 months off to “work on myself.”
Koepka, 32, would like everybody else work on themselves. He bristled when reporters, including me, requested him final Tuesday whether or not he would decide to the PGA Tour.
“There’s been no different possibility thus far, so the place else are you going to go?” he mentioned.
Nicely, LIV, for one.
“As of final week,” he mentioned. “That is it. I wasn’t enjoying final week. I am right here. I am right here on the U.S. Open. I am able to play the U.S. Open, and I believe it form of sucks, too, you’re all throwing this black cloud over the U.S. Open. It is considered one of my favourite occasions. I do not know why you guys maintain doing that. The extra legs you give it, the extra you retain speaking about it.”
Later he insisted, of a tour that employs his youthful brother, Chase; that has reportedly paid Mickelson $200 million; and that poses an existential risk to the trade at which he makes his residing, “I have not given it that a lot thought.”
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“I do not perceive,” he mentioned. “I am attempting to deal with the U.S. Open, man. I legitimately do not get it. I am uninterested in the conversations. I am uninterested in all these things. Like I mentioned, y’all are throwing a black cloud on the U.S. Open. I believe that sucks. I really do really feel dangerous for them for as soon as as a result of it is a s—– scenario. We’re right here to play, and you’re speaking about an occasion that occurred final week.”
He was reminded that LIV will proceed to stage occasions.
“I do know, however you possibly can’t drive a automotive trying within the rearview mirror, are you able to?” he responded, incomprehensibly.
Let’s look ahead. Koepka has maintained that he doesn’t care very a lot about golf; he simply loves competitors. Happily for him, LIV doesn’t actually provide golf as we have now come to grasp it, with 54-hole tournaments, shotgun begins and no lower. (That format “is just not a golf event,” Jon Rahm mentioned final Tuesday. “It is that straightforward.”)
Sadly for Koepka, LIV doesn’t provide one of the best competitors, both. The highest 15 gamers on the earth stay with the PGA Tour, a lot of them providing passionate instances for historical past. (Rahm once more: “I wish to play in opposition to one of the best on the earth in a format that is been happening for tons of of years. That is what I wish to see.” Rory McIlroy, who has emerged because the face of those that stay, mentioned, “It means quite a bit, going again to historical past and custom and placing your identify on trophies which have the legends of the sport on them. That is actually cool, and that is one thing that cash cannot purchase. Legacy, fame, on the finish of the day that is all you’ve. You strip all the things away, and also you’re left with the way you made individuals really feel and what individuals considered you. That’s necessary to me.” On Tuesday, Collin Morikawa tweeted, “I’ve mentioned it since February at Riviera that I’m right here to remain on the @PGATOUR and nothing has modified.”) With a couple of exceptions, the gamers who’ve signed on with LIV to this point are principally previous their prime or recovering from harm.
Koepka additionally would possibly discover the standard of life completely different from what he imagined. He fancies himself an iconoclast. “You inform me I am unable to do one thing, I’ll do it,” he told SI in 2018. He would possibly discover that tougher to attain as an worker of the Saudi authorities.
He typically says he cares solely in regards to the majors, of which he has gained 4, and LIV members nonetheless have a pathway to these. Official World Golf Rating factors assist decide who’s eligible to enter majors; LIV occasions don’t at this second earn these factors. LIV CEO Greg Norman mentioned in a Saturday interview with Fox Information — certainly he received his dates combined up and didn’t imply to distract from the U.S. Open, which might offend Koepka — that LIV would apply this week for OWGR consideration.
Koepka, in fact, didn’t study of that till Sunday night time, after he was completed competing. Then he shortly did the maths and determined to leap ship. It was good of him to attend till the U.S. Open was over. Now the one black cloud is over his profession.