Former golf World No.1 Rory McIlroy says he doesn't understand how some rivals can 'say one thing and then do another' regarding defecting from the PGA to the LIV Invitational Series.
Several players who have opted to accept lucrative deals have faced a series of awkward questions as to their reasons for doing so, as the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV series faces accusations it is an attempt to 'sportswash' over the nation's chequered human rights record.
Brooks Koepka is the latest high-profile golfer to be linked to the breakaway series, and McIlroy said he was baffled as to why the American star had made that decision when previous statements seemed to indicate he was not interested.
LIV has already signed golfing legend Phil Mickleson to a long-term deal, while Dustin Johnson was another high-profile name to compete in the series' debut event in England last week.
Players who have already joined the LIV series face an uncertain future in the PGA, with players banned from the US Open but permitted to compete in the upcoming British Open.
McIlroy said he was less than impressed with the likes of Koepka, who said in 2020 when the LIV series was first floated that he had 'a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players.'
The Irish star said he was taken aback by Koepka's decision have previously believed he would remain with the PGA.
"Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he said previously," he said.
"I think that's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys, because they say one thing and then they do another and I don't understand.
"I don't know if that's for legal reasons - I have no idea - but it's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing. In public and in private."
Rory McIlroy taken aback by Brooks Koepka's LIV Golf decision
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.
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.”
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."
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