LIV Golf: Brooks Koepka says he joined series for 'more time off' after injury-plagued years

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka won back-to-back US Opens in 2017 and 2018 and won consecutive US PGA titles in 2018 and 2019

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka says he decided to join the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf series because he needed "a little bit more time off".

The American has joined compatriots Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau in the new $250m (£200m) eight-event series.

He said his injury streak in recent years made him want more time at home.

Koepka will make his LIV Golf debut at the second event in Portland, Oregon, which starts on Thursday.

"What I've had to go through the last two years on my knees, the pain, the rehab, all this stuff, we realised you need a little bit more time off," said the 32-year-old.

"I'd be the first one to say it's not been an easy last couple years. I think having a little more break, a little more time at home to make sure I'm 100% before I go play in an event and don't feel like I'm forced to play right away."

At the US Open earlier in June, former world number one Koepka complained that questions about the LIV Golf series were throwing a "black cloud" over the major tournament.

He previously said "somebody will sell out" to leave the PGA Tour and join the controversial new series.

After Koepka joined LIV Golf, Rory McIlroy said he was surprised because of his previous comments, adding players who had defected were "pretty duplicitous".

"My opinion changed. That was it," said Koepka.

"You [press] guys will never believe me, but we didn't have the conversation until everything was done at the US Open and figured it out. I just said I was going to go one way or another. Here I am."

'Moving on is important'

Meanwhile, 2020 US Open champion DeChambeau has called on critics of LIV Golf to "move on" from the "bad that has happened before".

The prize fund for the series comes from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

PIF has Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud as its chairman. A declassified US intelligence report released in February 2021 asserted that he was complicit in the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi - an allegation Bin Salman Al Saud has denied.

The Gulf kingdom is one of the states accused of investing in sport and using high-profile events to 'sports wash' its reputation in other parts of the world.

"I understand people's decisions on their comments and whatnot. But as it relates to me, I have made my own decision," said DeChambeau, 28.

"Golf is a force for good and I think as time goes on, hopefully people will see the good they are doing and what they are trying to accomplish rather than looking at the bad that has happened before.

"I think moving on from that is important and going and continuing to move forward in a positive light is something that could be a force for good for the future of the game."

On Tuesday, the DP World Tour and PGA Tours strengthened their alliance to try to fight off what they called an "existential threat" posed by LIV Golf.

The PGA Tour suspended 17 members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, while the DP World Tour banned players who competed in June's event from next month's Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship.

However, players who have joined the series are allowed to play in the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.

"When it comes to the majors, we don't really know where they all stand," said former Masters champion Patrick Reed, 31, who will also make his LIV Golf debut in Portland.

"Having a green jacket, I would think I'd be able to play there for the rest of my life. At the end of the day, that's going to be up to them."

Reed added: "Seeing how miraculously the purses all of a sudden went skyrocketing back up on the PGA Tour, it just shows that they obviously believe that this is not only a true threat, but a great tour as well if they're going and copying what we're doing."

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