It’s now turning a little bitchy and a little personal with fellow four-time major champ Brooks Koepka now having a dig at Rory McIlroy.
First, we had McIlroy having a dig at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, soon after capturing a 21st PGA Tour title at the recent RBC Canadian Open and now it’s Koepka being asked to respond to a recent McIlroy statement.
Koepka, as a winner of a pair of US Open titles and also the recipient of two Rodman Wanamaker trophies, is one of the latest high-profile stars to abandon the PGA Tour ship in favour of the mega-lucrative LIV Golf luxuries but it’s not been a smooth changeover ahead of Koepka teeing-up tomorrow (Thu) at Pumpkin Ridge to the west of Portland in Oregon.
Firstly, we know Koepka had been an outspoken critic of the Saudi-backed series but the almighty ‘greenback’ has now seen him singing a song of a different kind. So, why did Koepka change his mind?
“Opinions change. I feel very comfortable with the decision I made. I’m happy, and this is what’s best for me,” Koepka said ahead of his LIV Golf debut.
In February, Koepka said of LIV Golf: “They’ll get their guys. Somebody will sell out and go to it.”
McIlroy, supposedly a good friend along with a fellow former World No.1 and fellow four-time major winner of Koepka, suggested last week that Koepka and others were duplicitous “to say one thing and then do another thing”.
Koepka was asked to respond and said: “Look, I got respect for Rory as a player. He’s good. He’s phenomenal but I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t see it [the ‘duplicitous’ comment]. I didn’t hear about it until basically like a day ago.
“So, look, he’s entitled to his opinion. He can think whatever he wants. He’s going to do what’s best for him and his family, I’m going to do what’s best for me and my family and can’t hate on anybody for that, and like I said, opinions change, man.”
Koepka cited a knee injury that has taken a toll on his body and the desire to spend more time with his family as factors in his decision.
We know the PGA Tour has sought to fight off the threat posed by LIV Golf by disciplining players. The Tour suspended every active member who competed in the first LIV event. Those who play in Oregon will also be suspended unless they resign their Tour memberships.
Three-time PGA Tour winner Pat Perez, who also spoke against LIV Golf before changing his mind, said the PGA Tour’s tactics have backfired.
“You want to be able to play anywhere you want. And you should be able to play wherever you want,” Perez said.
“The (PGA) Tour has tried to strong-arm us all year and come with bans and suspensions and all that, and how’d that work? Look how many guys are here. That didn’t work at all.”