Brooks Koepka says more time for physical recovery, change of heart led to LIV Golf move


NORTH PLAINS, Ore. – Four-time Grand Slam champion Brooks Koepka said Tuesday that he did not agree to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series until after playing at the US Open two weeks ago.

Koepka, speaking at a news conference ahead of the first LIV Golf tournament in the United States, which begins Thursday at Pumpkin Ridge, outside Portland, Oregon, said he wanted more time to recover physically by playing fewer events.

Koepka had previously pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour. He said in February that “someone will sell out and try it” when asked about the Saudi-funded LIV golf course. Earlier this month, Koepka criticized reporters for asking him questions about LIV Golf, accusing them of casting a “black cloud” over the US Open.


“Just my opinion, man,” Koepka said Tuesday, when asked what made him change his mind. “My opinion changed. That was it. You guys will never believe me, but we didn’t have the conversation until everything was set at the US Open and we worked it out and I just said I was going to go one way or the other. Here I am.”

Koepka, 32, has suffered knee, hip and wrist injuries in recent months. The former World No. 1 is now ranked 19th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

“What I’ve had to spend the last two years on my knees, the pain, the rehab, all these things, you realize, you know, I need a little more time off,” Koepka said. “I’ll be the first to say: It hasn’t been an easy last couple of years, and I think having a little more rest, a little more time at home to make sure I’m 100% before I go play.” an event and I don’t feel like I’m obligated to play right away [is good].”

Koepka didn’t have much to say about Rory McIlroy’s criticism of him and other players joining LIV Golf after previously saying they wouldn’t. McIlroy last week called them “misleading.”

“Look, I have respect for Rory as a player,” Koepka said. “He’s good. He’s phenomenal. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t see him. I didn’t hear about it until basically like a day ago. So, look, he’s entitled to his opinion. He can think anything.” he wants. He will do what is best for him and his family; I will do the best for myself and my family; And I can’t hate anyone for it.”

While Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau said they weren’t quitting the PGA Tour, Patrick Reed said he was. Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, said he hoped he would still be allowed to compete in major championships.

“We don’t really know where he stands, obviously,” Reed said. “Being a former champion at Augusta and having a green jacket, I think I could play there for the rest of my life. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s up to them.”

Koepka added of the majors: “You play anywhere in the world, you’ll be fine. You’ll get into them. I’ve made a decision. I’m happy with that, and whatever happens, I’ll live.” with that.”

When asked about criticism of LIV Golf players for helping the Saudis whitewash their record of human rights violations in the sport, Koepka said that people “are allowed to have their opinions.”

“You know, we’ve heard it,” Koepka said. “I think everybody has. It’s been mentioned. But look, like we said, our only job is to go play golf, and that’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to grow the game, make all this other stuff. And we’re doing the best we can.”

DeChambeau, who reportedly received more than $100 million to sign with LIV Golf, said he hoped to use some of the money to fund youth golf and charities. Asked if he was concerned about the source of the money, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, DeChambeau said he respected the decisions and comments of others.

The Saudis have been accused of torture, murder, kidnapping and mistreatment of women and other groups by human rights organizations. The Saudi royal family was also involved in the kidnapping and murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, according to US intelligence.

“Golf is a force for good, and I think as time goes on, hopefully people will see the good it’s doing and what it’s trying to accomplish instead of looking at the bad that’s come before,” DeChambeau said. . “I think moving on from that is important, and going and moving forward in a positive way is something that could be a force for the future of the game.”