It’s an earthquake. Golf is rocked by the increasingly powerful interference of the LIV Golf Series, which continues to attract great players from the PGA Tour by putting mountains of dollars on the table. The latest cool addition? Brooks Koepka is a four-discipline champion, as well as Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, 20th in the world rankings. In this way, there are 8 of the top 50 from that list who have already decided to skip the side. In the middle of the crack, the announcement of the principles of the British Open, which will begin on July 14, was expected. Finally, the oldest Grand Slam tournament on the calendar is set: it will allow Arab-funded league players – suspended from the regular round – to play the tournament in this year’s final Grand Slam tournament. Martin Slippers, CEO of R&A, reported:
“The Open is golf’s original tournament, and since it was first played in 1860, the openness has been central to its distinctive character and unique allure. Players who are exempt or have secured a place will be able to qualify for the 150 Open, subject to the terms and conditions of entry, to compete in tournaments At St. Andrews. We are focused on hosting a world-class event in July and celebrating this truly historic occasion for golf. We will invest proceeds from The Open, as we always do, for the benefit of golf, reflecting our goal to ensure that the sport continues to thrive 50 years from now.”
The PGA, which organizes the American golf circuit, has decided to ban golfers who participate in the dissident circuit from registering for its tournaments. But according to speculation, the circuit led by Jay Monahan will prepare for a counterattack to try to win back golfers who have been to the LIV series, including big names such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Koepka himself, who have just announced their withdrawal from the Travelers Championship starting Thursday. In Cromwell, Connecticut. The idea is to increase the prize pool of eight popular tournaments from 2023 to at least $20 million, and introduce three new tournaments, worth $25 million each, uncut, as in the LIV Arena competitions.
The calendar can also evolve with a season similar to the “civil” year, between January and December, while the PGA Tour currently begins in the US fall, our spring. The first LIV Golf League was held at the beginning of June in London, with the participation of 17 members of the PGA Tour, all of whom are excluded from the American circuit until further notice. The winner, South African Charles Schwarzl, went home with a $4 million check in his bank account.
At a conference during the US Open, Koepka accused reporters of putting a “black cloud” on the US Open, by putting the LIV Golf Invitational series on the agenda today: “I’m here at the US Open and ready to play, and I think it’s annoying: You’re all just throwing this black cloud over this event,” they blasted the main winner four times, adding, “It’s one of my favorite events. I don’t know why you guys keep doing this. The more legs I give, the more I keep talking about it.”
But a few days later, the West Palm Beach, Florida-born golfer took a turn and signaled he’d be part of the AAA: In fact, he had already announced that he would be dropping out of the upcoming PGA Tour. His younger brother, Chase, was also committed from the first date of the league led by Greg Norman and tied for 33rd place on the opening date in London, receiving a check for $150,000.
Meanwhile, Abraham Ancer was officially announced as the new LIV character, and then the Mexican said goodbye to the main tour: “After careful analysis, I made the decision to join LIV Golf. It wasn’t a soft decision,” Ancer said in a statement posted on his Twitter account. I feel very fortunate and would like to thank the PGA Tour for the opportunities I have had in my career up to this point. I’m excited to see what the future holds for my golf career.”
A trend has begun to emerge among players going to LIV Golf, beyond the obvious ambition for money. In almost every case, it comes down to his questionable long-term ability to consistently compete against the best in the world on the PGA Tour, whether based on physique (Koepka, DeChambeau), degradation (Mickelson, Westwood, Poulter), reduced ability (McDowell, Kaymer) or apathy, like Dustin Johnson. In the case of the former number 1, many say “I’d rather be fishing”.