World number one Rory McIlroy had already counted himself out from becoming one of the 48 players joining the PGL, citing the fact the money behind the new initiative didn’t sit well with him.
The backers of the PGL is understood to include the Saudi Public Investment Fund among up to 60 different investors, and McIlroy used that as one of several reasons why he wasn’t going to become a PGL member.
Now world number two and three Rahm and Brooks Koepka have followed McIlroy’s lead and announced that they have no interest in leaving the PGA TOUR and joining the new venture from 2022 onwards.
Speaking to Golfweek, Rahm stated:
“I think what I’m going to do is focus on just the PGA TOUR. At the end of the day I’m a competitor, I’m a PGA TOUR member and I’m going to stay that way. I’m a young player. The PGA TOUR has been doing things extremely well. Hopefully I have a long career ahead on the PGA TOUR. The PGA TOUR has done such a great job with what we have and I’m really thankful for what they’ve done.”
Brooks Koepka had initially refused to be drawn on any potential switch, insisting he would play wherever the best players in the world were teeing it up. But, speaking to the Associated Press, he has subsequently declared his future lies with the PGA TOUR.
“I’m going with the PGA TOUR. I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players. I get that the stars are what people come to see. But these guys who we see win, who have been grinding for 10 or 15 years, that’s what makes the cool stories. I’d have a hard time looking at guys and putting them out of a job. Money isn’t going to change my life. There’s something to be said about freedom of playing. I get to chose. To me, it’s not worth it. I’m happy with how things are. When life is good—and it’s real good—you don’t want to change it. I think the PGA TOUR is run beautifully.”
The Premier Golf League will involve 48 players, 18 events, 12 teams, 1 Individual World Champion and one 1 Team World Champion—using a Formula 1 style format to crown the champions.
Shotgun starts would reportedly be used to ensure all players are on the course at the same time, and each tournament would have $10 million on offer according to reports.
An estimated start date of January 2022 has been proposed, although no firm plans have been revealed yet.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have revealed that they have been approached by organisers of the PGL, although both have had informal discussions rather than agreed to join the Premier Golf League.