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Lynch: The Saudis put a horse’s head in Brooks Koepka’s bed. He couldn’t refuse their offer

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Somewhere in the last few days — ever since he told friends that he had resolutely left for the LIV Golf series — Brooks Kepka found a metaphorical horse head in his bed, an offer he couldn’t refuse to the Saudi dismemberment enthusiasts behind the splinter chain. Since Kepka does not tolerate fools with glee and loudly despised the leading figures of LIV Golf – Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and Golf Saudi CEO Majed Al Sorour – we have to assume that the offer was high enough that he could sleep well.

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For those who know Koepka well, one brief moment at last week’s US Open was early and hard evidence that he had cast his lot in the LIV Golf. He approached Mickelson at the shooting range to punch him and exchange a few words. This won’t be the only time he’ll find himself doing something that just recently seemed unpleasant to him. The Saudis expect loyalty from team members, whether they’re golfers or assassination squads in outlying consulates.

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Aside from now having to run errands for people he doesn’t like (for good reason, to be honest), the decision to join LIV Golf is a humiliation for Cap, though he hates to admit it. He’s always seen himself as more of an athlete than a golfer, but it’s an admission that he’s neither, that he’s just an entertainer destined to put on a showcase against blurred veterans and nameless youths whom he had long considered incapable of sniffing. your bandage. .

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There is a reason behind the tacit confession: Cap’s body has been degrading for years, and due to a nagging injury, he is dangerously close to the operation and a long break. He may have made a commitment to the Saudis, but they will be lucky if he delivers.

There is a trend among players moving to LIV Golf, apart from the obvious lust for money. In almost every case, their long-term ability to continually compete against the world’s best on the PGA Tour is questionable, whether due to physical longevity (Kopka, DeChambeau), decrepitude (Mickelson, Westwood, Poulter), declining skill (McDowell, Kaymer), or apathy ( Johnson, who would have preferred fishing). They are honorary stars, their best road car hit a few miles back from younger, healthier, stronger rivals. Any suggestion that he belongs to their ranks hurts a proud man like Cap, but it’s true.

Competitive relevance is one of the most predictable aspects of this story, along with nominally reputable media rushing to the gate with rumors from dubious sources mindlessly helping the Saudis craft a narrative that momentum has inexorably shifted in their favor. It is worth noting other new trends.

For example, buying critical votes. This goes back to Paul Casey. As a UNICEF ambassador, he missed the first international tournament in Saudi Arabia in 2019 in good conscience. By the next year, Casey had received sufficient compensation to attribute his presence to an act of engagement. This continues today. A few months ago, Pat Perez publicly denounced LIV Golf – not least because of his well-known dislike of Mickelson – but he was also bribed.

And finally, Koepka, who had a few brief exchanges with the Saudis when they rejected their advances in 2021. In the end, they also found its price.

Another obvious trend is the heatmap of player management agencies. Take, for example, GSE Worldwide, which has raised millions of dollars in commissions for luring its clients into the Saudi rat trap – DeChambeau, Abraham Unser, Sergio Garcia, Luis Ousthuizen, Branden Grace and many other of their assets among the rumors and the inevitable. And if you want proof that Jay Monahan can’t keep up: one of the GSE clients that wasn’t handed over to the Saudis is Grayson Murray.

Sentiment on the TPC River Highlands range has been mixed since Tuesday’s players’ meeting. There were expressions of support for Monahan and faith in the changes he proposes, even from apprentices who will have to fight harder for their crust. But that was tempered by annoyance that he wasn’t showing up in public enough to beat up Saudis. This is criticism that hits both sides. Monahan told the players that they too needed to get out of the fence and fight for their Tour.

There were two sobering moments at the meeting for some of the assembled players, whose peripheral consciousness may not be what it should be. Monahan was asked who would pay the lawyers if and when the suspended Saudi-linked players or their benefactors sued. You will, came the answer. The Commissioner explained that the Tour is an association, a collective of participants, and that a claim brought by one player against the Tour is a claim brought against (and defended by) each player.

He has also come under pressure over what moves are being made by major championships, each hosted by an organization that Monahan has no control over. It’s a tense question given the fear of legal exposure if big companies are seen as helping the Tour keep a competitor out, but the answer was simple: nothing yet. It was a reminder of the important role that would eventually fall to the Majors. One side wants them to act, the other hopes they won’t do anything. However, players on both sides insist that without their support, the big players will not be able to create a solid field.

Even before Monahan brought his members together Tuesday morning in Connecticut and asked them to make their voices heard, a small group of high-profile players were talking about taking an unequivocal public and rallying stance against LIV Golf and in support of the PGA Tour.

Until this week, this group included Brooks Koepka.

List

How it started and how it’s happening: here’s what pro golfers have said about LIV Golf before and what they’re saying now

2022 LIV Golf London
2022 LIV Golf London



Source: sports.yahoo.com

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