There was some good news for the PGA Tour as the world's top three have now ruled themselves out of any new proposed world tour
When Brooks Koepka was asked about the Premier Golf League in Saudi Arabia at the end of January he didn’t have much of an opinion due to a lack of knowledge. By mid February it had become more of “a possibility” and he wasn’t ruling anything out.
Now, on the Sunday when the PGA Tour should have been bringing the curtain down on its showpiece event, the Players, there was some welcome good news.
“I am out of the PGL. I’m going with the PGA Tour,” Koepka told the Associated Press. “I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players.”
World No. 2 Jon Rahm is another who isn’t keen on the prospect of a new tour.
“I think what I’m going to do is focus on just the PGA Tour,” Rahm told Golfweek. “At the end of the day I’m a competitor. I’m a PGA Tour member and I’m going to stay that way.”
Rory McIlroy, who took his place at the top of the world ranking tree this year, ruled himself out last month with the stand-out quote being that he “wants to be on the right side of history on this one”.
Likewise two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson who wants “to play on this Tour for the rest of my career” – which nobody is too sure how long that will be given how he often talks of retiring.
Like @BKoepka @McIlroyRory my loyalty is with the @PGATOUR. The way Jay Monahan and the Tour have handled the current situation makes me proud to be a member! One of many reasons I want to play on this Tour for the rest of my career #PGATour #ProudMember https://t.co/ieekS5WWUj
— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) March 16, 2020
For Koepka, who met with the organisers at Riviera in February but waited until now so not to cause too much of a stir when big events were happening, he listed a variety of reasons why he wants to stick on the PGA Tour though he does think that the proposed world league, which would involve a team format, remains a possibility.
“I get that the stars are what people come to see,” Koepka said. “But these guys who we see win, who have been grinding for 10 or 15 years, that’s what makes the cool stories. I’d have a hard time looking at guys and putting them out of a job.
“I don’t forget where I’ve come from (which includes the Challenge and European Tours), there are guys from that top 125 who could be the next star.”
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As for the focused and hyped nature of the Premier Golf League – 18 events, including 10 in the States, with 12 four-man teams over 54 holes with an enormous prize pot each week – the four-time major winner wasn’t getting carried away with the thought of that.
“To have it every week, I’m struggling with that. Golf is just not a team sport. You ask some of these younger guys if they want to play for someone else.
“The direction Jay (Monahan) has the tour going, they care about 125 guys. Yes, the top guys do a lot for the tour. But it should be more than 48 players that people are tuning in to watch.
“Money isn’t going to change my life. There’s something to be said about freedom of playing. I get to choose. To me, it’s not worth it. I’m happy with how things are. When life is good — and it’s real good — you don’t want to change it. I think the PGA Tour is run beautifully. I plan on playing the PGA Tour for the rest of my life.”