Order of Merit champ Koepka opts out of MENA Tour opener

John Craven

Brooks Koepka (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

John Craven

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In a bitter blow to the MENA Tour’s $75,000 Egyptian Swing opener, defending Order of Merit champion Brooks Koepka has opted to tee up in the Asian Tour’s $5million Saudi International instead.

Koepka obliterated the MENA Tour record books in 2022, winning the season-long money-list race having amassed a colossal $4,602,500 from just two events last term.

The previous best single season collection of cash came from England’s Zane Scotland who enjoyed four wins en route to capturing the Order of Merit crown in 2013.

Scotland’s winnings amounted to $50,229 that year, just the $4,552,271 shy of Koepka’s tally.

Scotland has since taken up a non-playing role as a Diversity Manager with the R&A, but how different life could’ve been had the MENA Tour’s injection of cash coincided with his four-tournament winning season of 2013.

At the very least you’d like to think Scotland would tip his cap to the organisation that provided him the platform to earn such sums by teeing up in their opening event.

Koepka, like many of his former MENA Tour money-list colleagues, has opted for greener pastures at Royal Greens Golf Club in Jeddah this week, presumably because the $75,000 prize fund in Egypt falls some way short of the $20million events of yesteryear.

LIV’s partnership with the MENA Tour now looks to be, dare I say, dead in the water, but Koepka’s loss is the gain of the likes of Robin Dawson, Gavin Moynihan and Paul McBride who take their place in the field at Madinaty Golf Club untroubled by LIV’s games from January 31 to February 2.

After near-fatal Covid disruption to its calendar, and Greg Norman’s efforts to exploit the tour for ranking points, perhaps 2023 will be a return to normality for the Middle East and North African Tour which provides valuable playing opportunities for those harbouring dreams of emulating Koepka’s Major winning career.

Just don’t go chasing his MENA Tour money-list record.

Order of Merit standings HERE

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