Rory McIlroy has continued to vent his frustration at golfers who have joined the LIV series, saying he has found their comments and behaviour to be "pretty duplicitous"; Brooks Koepka is the latest player set to depart for the breakaway series
Thursday 23 June 2022 13:59, UK
Rory McIlroy has labelled the players who have joined the LIV Golf Series "duplicitous" for the way they have handled their breakaway from the PGA Tour.
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka is the latest big-name player to quit the PGA Tour to join the controversial breakaway series, joining the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson.
Koepka has withdrawn from Thursday's PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, and will compete in the second LIV event in Portland next week. The 32-year-old's decision comes after he seemed to indicate he would not be joining the Tour when asked ahead of the US Open last week.
In March, former world No 1 Johnson also stressed his full commitment to the PGA Tour, only to perform a U-turn three months later and that sort of behaviour annoys McIlroy, who is on the tour's player advisory council.
Asked whether he was surprised by Koepka's decision before it was officially announced, the Northern Irishman said: "Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he said previously.
"I think that's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys because they say one thing and then they do another and I don't understand.
"I don't know if that's for legal reasons or if they can't - I have no idea - but it's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing, in public and in private."
LIV Golf confirmed later on Wednesday that Koepka had joined the breakaway tour and will compete at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland.
Responding to Koepka's departure, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: "I am disappointed that Brooks Koepka has left and joined the LIV Golf series.
"I have not had a chance to talk to him about it, and I look forward to having a conversation with him, but I am not going to share any more than that at this point in time.
"Every player that has left, I have great admiration and respect for the contributions they have made to the PGA Tour. And I think a lot of players have had a hard time making that decision [to leave]."
Scottie Scheffler was "surprised" by Koepka's sudden move but has made it clear that he plans to play for the PGA Tour for a very long time.
"I was at a function with him last week and (this) definitely wasn't what he had in mind," said Scheffler, who is currently ranked No 1 in the world.
"We were focused on building the PGA Tour and getting the guys that are staying here together and kind of just having talks and figuring out how we can help benefit the Tour. So to see Brooks leave was definitely a surprise for us.
"With that said, he's made his decision. I'm not going to knock him for doing that. He made the decision that's best for him and I'm not going to be one to judge him on that.
"For me, it's not where I see myself heading any time soon. I grew up wanting to be on the PGA Tour. I grew up dreaming of playing in these events. I didn't grow up dreaming of playing in the Centurion Club in London or whatever it is - I grew up wanting to play in the Masters.
"I grew up wanting to play in Austin. I grew up wanting to play Colonial, the Byron Nelson. I wouldn't trade those memories for anything at this moment in time.
"Those memories, to me, are invaluable. I would never risk going and losing the opportunity to go back to Augusta every year or to do any of it. There's nothing I would want to do right now that would risk having any sort of effects on the way my life is now."
Scheffler believes the best players in the world are "still on the PGA Tour" adding: "The guys on top of the leaderboard last week were on the PGA Tour.
"Canada was one of the coolest events that I've been to and it was my first time up there. Being able to play in front of the crowds and have those really euphoric moments where you're actually able to make a putt to win a tournament, like finishing out the Masters and becoming No 1 in the world in Austin are memories that I can never, ever come close to replacing with an amount of money."
The Tour will return to a regular calendar year format (Jan to Aug) as opposed to existing 'wraparound season'.
From 2024, Sep to Nov will see 'Fall Series' establish top 125 for following season, plus three international events.
Substantial increase in a number of tournament purses - including 'The Players' which is up to $25m from $20m.
Monahan, who hosted a meeting with as many as 100 PGA Tour members on Tuesday, announced a combined increased purse size of almost 60million [£48.9m] at eight PGA Tour tournaments in 2023.
He also confirmed the creation of a series of up to three international events to be played after the conclusion of the fall schedule for the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup.
Monahan added: "Let me be clear. I am not naive. If this is an arms race, and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf.
"We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV-Saudi golf league is not that. It is an irrational threat and one not concerned with the return on investment for true growth of the game.
"On the PGA Tour, our members compete for the opportunity to add their names to history books and significant financial benefits without having to wrestle with any sort of moral ambiguity.
"My read on the situation is that this environment is unsettling and the players want to make certain that their Tour is doing everything it possibly can to grow and evolve in the manner that has got us to this point.
"We need to continue to be the ultimate platform for the best players in the world - a place they want to compete to prepare for the greatest championships in our game. The best competing against the best at historic venues with traditions and meanings and purpose.
"We are going down our path, and we are excited about what we have announced today and there is more exciting news to come. We are going to do it as a Tour, as a collective, and a group of members that are absolutely behind their Tour."
World No 4 Collin Morikawa has denied talk that he is set to follow Koepka to the LIV series, as has Justin Thomas, who is out of the Travelers Championship due to injury.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland