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Golf star Brooks Koepka has been lambasted over his reported defection from the PGA to the LIV series, with critics slamming him for backflipping on previous comments against the breakaway competition.
Koepka, a four-time major winner, removed the words 'PGA Tour' from his bio on social media on Monday prompting speculation the 32-year-old had defected from the PGA.
The Greg Norman-backed LIV series will host its first event in America next week, with Koepka reportedly set to join the series on a lucrative, multi-million dollar deal.
No official announcement has been made yet, but the reports have left some golf observers confused after Koepka repeatedly expressed scepticism regarding the breakaway series.
Prior to the U.S. Open last week, a frustrated Koepka took reporters to task after he was peppered with questions about the LIV series, chiding them for not focusing on the event they were there to cover.
“I’m here at the US Open, I’m ready to play the US Open, and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the US Open," he said.
“It’s one of my favourite events. I don’t know why you guys keep doing that. The more legs you give it, the more you keep talking about it.’’
Koepka was sceptical about the LIV series as early as 2020 when it was first raised as a prospect, declaring he only wanted to compete against the best players.
Brooks Koepka defending the PGA and openly hating LIV one week before joining LIV is not a good look for him.
— stephen perez (@SPerezReports) June 21, 2022
Brooks Koepka fits the mold for LIV. Another polarizing figure leaving the PGA Tour. It begs the question, does the Tour need a villain?
— Stephen Watson (@WISN_Watson) June 21, 2022
Brooks Koepka going to LIV is not surprising. He’s said he only cares about majors and finding new ways to make Bryson’s life miserable.
— Paige Spiranac (@PaigeSpiranac) June 21, 2022
Brooks Koepka in February calls Phil Mickelson greedy after comments Phil made about LIV Golf.
Brooks Koepka last week calls out the media for talking about LIV Golf, the biggest story in sports.
Brooks Koepka this week is reportedly joining LIV Golf for a bag of money. pic.twitter.com/5rtaSlzea3
— Mark Harris (@itismarkharris) June 21, 2022
Asked about the chances of him joining LIV down the road, Koepka seemed dismissive of the prospect at the time.
“Money doesn’t matter,” Koepka said in February, 2020.
“It’s not something that’s important. I just want to be happy. Money’s not going to make me happy. I just want to play against the best.
“If somebody gave me $200 million tomorrow it’s not going to change my life. What am I going to get out of it? I already have (enough money) that I could retire right now, but I don’t want to. I just want to play golf.”
Brooks Koepka slammed over LIV Golf hypocrisy
Koepka's comments at the U.S. Open have been pointed to by critics who have been left unimpressed by the 37-year-old's surprise defection.
Golfweek writer Eamon Lynch said any deal with LIV would be a 'humiliation' for Koepka, arguing he would be testing himself against inferior competition.
“The decision to join LIV Golf represents a humiliation for Koepka, though he will be loathe to admit it," Lynch wrote.
"He has always fancied himself more an athlete than a golfer, but this is an admission that he’s neither, that he’s just an entertainer doomed to play exhibitions against the washed-up veterans and no-name youngsters that he’s long considered unfit to sniff his jockstrap."
That wasn't the only harsh criticism directed at Koepka over his potential support for the series, which is backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and has been criticised as an attempt to improve the nation's images amid a reputation for human rights abuses.
For the Win writer Andy Nesbitt said Koepka was simply being selfish if he joined LIV.
“Brooks has long made it known that he barely likes professional golf. He has bragged about how little he practices and how much he only cares about major championships,” Nesbitt wrote.
“So, he’s a perfect fit for this new empty league. He should be the spokesman for it – ‘If you don’t care about anything but yourself, come and LIV!’ would be a perfect tagline.”
Koepka could potentially be joined in the LIV series by world No.20 Abraham Ancer when it debuts in America later this month.
Should those two join, the LIV series will count eight of the world's top 50 players among its ranks.
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