The world’s three highest-ranked players have now all come out and rejected overtures from the Premier Golf League.
Jon Rahm became the third of the top three to turn down the Premier Golf League on Sunday, just hours after Brooks Koepka came out with his public decision on the fledgling concept.
Speaking to Golfweek, Rahm said, “At the end of the day I’m a competitor. I’m a PGA Tour member and I’m going to stay that way.”
The 25-year-old Spaniard went on to talk about the potential long career he has ahead of him on the PGA Tour (and European Tour), expressing gratitude for what the PGA Tour has done for him so far.
Earlier in the day, Koepka told the Associated Press he was out on the concept over its exclusivity.
“I am out of the PGL. I’m going with the PGA Tour,” he said. “I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players.”
Both players join Rory McIlroy, who was the first big-name player to declare himself “out” on the Premier Golf League. McIlroy made his declaration ahead of the WGC-Mexico Championship in February.
The Premier Golf League has gone public with its aims of bringing a rival to the PGA Tour to market in the next few years. With the help of a capital-raising firm Raine Capital, the people behind the Premier Golf League have brought in money, including from sovereign funds connected to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Andy Gardiner, the PGL CEO of the Premier Golf League, has conducted interviews while the league has released information about its goals and potential setup. 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.
Players outside the top three, as well McIlroy, have expressed concerns about the nature of the tour’s setup. Pros are considered “independent contractors” by the PGA Tour and European Tour, but the Premier Golf League would require their players 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.