Brooks Koepka is nothing if not direct. So when the topic of the Premier Golf League came up on Wednesday at the Honda Classic, he didn’t mince words.
“Money doesn’t matter,” the 29-year-old four-time major champion said. “It’s not something that’s important. I just want to be happy. Money’s not going to make me happy. I just want to play against the best.
“If somebody gave me $200 million tomorrow it’s not going to change my life. What am I going to get out of it? I already have [enough money] that I could retire right now, but I don’t want to. I just want to play golf.”
And to that point, Koepka, while not disavowing the possibility of playing in the PGL the way World No. 1 Rory McIlroy did last week, didn’t exactly avow the possibility of jumping ship to the proposed league should it ever come to fruition, either.
“I think everybody wants to play against the best,” he said. “Whatever comes of it, comes of it, and it is what it is.
“The Tour has been incredible to us, the way things have developed over the years. We have to see where things go. It’s all very new and it’s all very fast.”
Last week, McIlroy became the first high-profile player to take a stance one way or the other on the PGL, saying that he valued his autonomy and freedom over all else.
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t like it,” McIlroy said at the WGC-Mexico Championship. “I read a thing the other day where it said if you take the money they can tell you what to do, so if you don’t take the money, they can’t tell you what to do. And I think that’s my thing, I’ve never been one for being told what to do, and I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career, and I feel like I would give that up by going to play this other league.
“For me, I’m out. My position is I’m against it until there may come a day that I can’t be against it. If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice, but at this point, yeah, I don’t like what they’re proposing.”
In the wake of those remarks, the league’s CEO, Andrew Gardiner, who revealed more details of the proposed 18-event league of 54-hole tournaments played in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, didn’t view the Northern Irishman’s position as a death knell.
“It brought to mind the Mark Twain quote, ‘Rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated,’ as if this were some fatal wound,” Gardiner told Golf Digest’s Max Adler.
Still, without the game’s top players it would be hard to imagine the league getting off the ground. Yet, more than a few players remain at the very least intrigued by the concept—most notably Phil Mickelson. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods has said he has been contacted by the league and is looking into it. Even McIlroy in his comments left the door cracked slightly.
There’s also interest in what the threat of the possible rival league could cause the PGA Tour to do, especially with a new lucrative TV deal looming. Specifically, could the big-money proposed by the PGL lead to increased PGA Tour purses, a shorter schedule and/or a bigger piece of the pie for the game’s stars.
“I think competition is good,” said Gary Woodland, who is represented by the same agent as Woods, Mark Steinberg. “I think the tour will be better for it. I think it will force the tour to make some changes.
“It’ll be interesting. There’s still a long way to go and a lot to do in a short period of time, but I think the [PGA] Tour has realized it has to make some changes. I think the top players are getting together and trying to get things done. There’s a lot of things that could be done better out here to take care of the top players but also the bottom guys. I think there’s a lot more money for everybody. Hopefully that pushes the envelope.”
Creds: Golf Digest