Brooks Koepka becomes latest star golfer to leave PGA Tour for LIV Golf Series, sources confirm – ESPN
Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is the latest golfer to defect from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf Invitational Series, sources have confirmed to ESPN.
Koepka, 32, is one of the highest-profile players to join the breakaway circuit, which is being funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and is fronted by two-time Open winner Greg Norman.
LIV Golf is expected to announce the addition of Koepka in the coming days, sources have confirmed. Koepka, who is ranked 19th in the Official World Golf Ranking, is expected to compete in the first LIV Golf event in the United States, at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, starting June 30.
Koepka’s pending departure from the PGA Tour was first reported Tuesday by the Telegraph of London.
LIV Golf announced later Tuesday that Abraham Ancer, who is ranked 20th in the world, also is leaving the PGA Tour for the new series.
“Abraham Ancer has been a rising star who’s established himself as one of the world’s top golfers in a very short period of time. He is a consistent contender which continues to elevate our competition,” Norman said in a statement. “Abraham’s global reach and star power in Mexico and Latin America makes him a great fit for LIV Golf, which is committed to growing the sport on a global scale, particularly in new and emerging markets. We are thrilled to have him on board and look forward to having him in the field in Portland and beyond.”
Earlier Tuesday, world No. 4 Collin Morikawa denied rumors that he also was planning to join LIV Golf, tweeting that he is “here to stay” on the PGA Tour and “nothing has changed.”
To state for the record, once again, you all are absolutely wrong. I’ve said it since February at Riviera that I’m here to stay on the @PGATOUR and nothing has changed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cereal to pour in my milk
LIV Golf has now signed eight of the top 50 players in the world; Bryson DeChambeau (ranked 30th) and Patrick Reed (38th) are expected to compete in the event in Portland as well.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan suspended 17 players, including two-time major winner Dustin Johnson and six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, for competing in LIV Golf’s inaugural event outside London two weeks ago. Monahan had said that tour players who competed in future LIV Golf tournaments without a conflicting-event release would face similar punishment.
Monahan is meeting with players Tuesday morning at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. The PGA Tour’s players advisory council also was meeting Tuesday.
Koepka, who is 84th in the FedEx Cup standings, remained in the field for the Travelers Championship, though he was not at the meeting at the TPC River Highlands.
Monahan is scheduled to speak with media Wednesday.
In 2019, Koepka became the first player in history to hold back-to-back victories in two major championships simultaneously; he won the U.S. Open in 2017-18 and the PGA Championship in 2018-19.
Koepka joins his longtime friend Johnson and his brother, Chase Koepka, who also competed in the London-based LIV event.
Koepka was the No. 1 player in the world for 47 weeks but has been bothered by back, hip and wrist injuries in recent months. Koepka has two top-10s in 15 starts but didn’t fare well in the first three majors this season. He missed the cut at the Masters, tied for 55th at the PGA Championship and was 55th in last week’s U.S. Open at The Country Club outside Boston.
Koepka criticized reporters last week for casting a “black cloud” over the U.S. Open with questions about LIV Golf.
“I’m here at the U.S. Open,” he said. “I’m ready to play the U.S. Open, and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the U.S. Open. It’s one of my favorite events. I don’t know why you guys keep doing that. The more legs you give [LIV Golf], the more you keep talking about it.”
Ancer, a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., played at Oklahoma. He claimed his first and only PGA Tour victory at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis in August. He also finished in the top 10 in each of the past two PGA Championships, including a tie for ninth at Southern Hills last month.
Ancer pulled out of last week’s U.S. Open at the last minute, citing illness. He is not in the field for the Travelers.
Ancer was one of the bright spots for the International Team in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia. He had a 3-1-1 record, with his only loss coming against Tiger Woods in a singles match.