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Rickie Fowler explains why he didn't invest in Leeds United but remains open to Premier League involvement

Fowler was linked with stake in Leeds but withdrew following their relegation to the Championship; fellow golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas invested in the club through 49ers Enterprises; American open to opportunities in the Premier League, joking his allegiance could be "bought"

United States' Rickie Fowler tees off the 1st during a practice round for the British Open Golf Championships at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, Tuesday, July 18, 2023. The Open starts Thursday, July 20. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Image: Golfer Rickie Fowler had been in line to invest in Leeds United prior to their relegation from the Premier League

Rickie Fowler has explained why he didn't join fellow golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in taking a stake in Leeds United and says he is still open to investing in a Premier League football club.

The American was recently linked with a minority stake at Leeds but pulled out of a prospective deal following their relegation from the top flight.

Spieth and Thomas have since invested in the Elland Road outfit after purchasing shares in new owners 49ers Enterprises and Fowler was called a "coward" by a couple of fans at The Open on Friday for his decision.

"That's already all done," said the 34-year-old after completing his third round at The Open on Saturday.

"Hopefully it all works out with JT and Jordan being involved. My financial team just didn't necessarily advise for it, so we decided to not go forward with it.

"It doesn't change my interest at all. There may be some other opportunities out there.

"Football - (or), as we call it, soccer - obviously it isn't as big in the States, but a lot of us that don't follow it as deeply as everyone over here appreciate sport at the highest level.

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"When opportunities like that come up, I would love to be a part of something. We'll see what the future holds."

Asked if he had a particular favourite team, Fowler said: "I don't, but if there's some sort of financial involvement, I'm sure they'll have plenty of support from me. I can be bought!"

Fowler moved to one under par at Royal Liverpool on Saturday by shooting a four-under-par 67 on on a wet morning.

49ers Enterprises complete takeover from Andrea Radrizzani

Leeds United announced this week that the EFL approved the sale of the club to American investment group 49ers Enterprises.

Andrea Radrizzani, chairman and majority shareholder since 2017, agreed to sell his controlling stake last month, with the deal valuing the club at around £170m.

49ers Enterprises, which owns NFL franchise the San Francisco 49ers, has steadily increased its stake in Leeds since becoming a minority shareholder in 2018.

Analysis: Recruitment drive starts now after 49ers complete takeover

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Andrea Radrizzani sits down with Sky Sports to talk through his time at Elland Road after he completed the sale of his majority share in the club to the 49ers Enterprises

Sky Sports News reporter Tim Thornton:

"The 49ers Enterprises have been involved with Leeds for five years now but now, with full control, it means they can get to work.

"That has been going on already over the past few weeks with the appointment of Daniel Farke, but now this has been completed, recruitment can start and there will be a lot of changes to that department - a whole restructure of that.

"We're expecting Gretar Steinsson to come in, the former performance director at Tottenham, to work alongside Nicky Hammond who has been heading up recruitment over the summer.

"We're expecting signings to begin coming in - Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea, that deal could be concluded later today.

"It's an exciting path for the club, and now it's about getting things into the right order to get the club back on track into the Premier League.

"Leeds fans will forever be grateful for Radrizzani bringing in Bielsa and the style of football and success that followed.

"He deserves credit for that, when he came in the club looked very different to what it does now and he made a lot of positive changes here, but latterly it hasn't gone well.

"There's been criticism around recruitment, Victor Orta, and some of the decisions which have been made over the last 12 months haven't worked out and it has tainted his time at Leeds.

"It could be a scenario where in a few years' time fans look back on his time and there'll be a little bit of affection, but as things stand now he hasn't left as the most popular owner."

Radrizzani: 'My best wasn't good enough' after manager and transfer mistakes

As he said goodbye to Leeds, outgoing owner Radrizzani agreed to speak to Sky Sports News in an exclusive interview about his time at Elland Road, covering topics including:

  • His best decision of appointing Marcelo Bielsa - and the difficulty of sacking him
  • Why Jesse Marsch was brought in to play in the same style as Bielsa - and how it never happened
  • Why keeping Marsch until after the World Cup in Qatar was a huge mistake
  • How Leeds should have been more careful with signings and bought more experienced players
  • Why Sam Allardyce could have kept Leeds up with more time

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