Brooks Koepka says he won't join the Premier Golf League
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Brooks Koepka says he won’t join the Premier Golf League

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Brooks Koepka joined Rory McIlroy on March 15, sharing he won't be joining the fledgling Premier Golf League.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Koepka will not participate in the league concept that has been bubbling to the surface in 2020 after six years in development.

The Premier Golf League, which has also been called other names, including the Tour de Force and World Golf Series, has reached critical mass in looking to bring a rival to the PGA Tour to market in the next few years. With the help of a capital-raising firm, the people behind the Premier Golf League have brought in money, including from sovereign funds connected to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has been trying to buy its way into professional golf as part of its sportswashing program to improve its global reputation.

The principals of the league have suggested a tour that would consist of 54-hole, no-cut events reserved for the top 48 players in the world (that would agree to play). The events would be played under a shotgun start, so as to make the broadcast window shorter and more concise. The purses would be at least $10 million per week, and the final event of the year would be a "world championship" with a $40 million purse.

There world championship would have a team component with 12 four-person "franchises" that could be owned in part by leading players who would captain the team competing in the world championship. The captain would determine which scores count before each round.

However, blowback to the Premier Golf League concept has been significant. The PGL principals have said the players, which are considered "independent contractors" by the PGA Tour and European Tour, would have to sign on to compete in a set schedule of events without skipping tournaments. The PGA Tour has also said a player who joins the Premier Golf League would not be able to be a PGA Tour member and may endanger their share of the PGA Tour's rich pension program. European Tour players who abandon their membership for the PGL may become ineligible to compete for the Ryder Cup, including ever being a European captain.

Rory McIlroy was among those players to publicly criticize the Saudi backing of the Premier Golf League, sharing at the WGC-Mexico Championship that he would not compete in the PGL unless he effectively had no choice.

With Koepka joining McIlroy in opposition to joining the Premier Golf League, the top two players in the Official World Golf Ranking are walking away from the concept. It might be impossible for the PGL to come to market without at least one of them.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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