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Brooks Koepka said he’s allowed to change his opinions. However, he seemed reluctant to explain his reasoning.
Koepka was among several players to speak to the assembled media Tuesday ahead of this week’s LIV Golf event near Portland, Oregon, where he will make his debut with the Saudi-backed league. For a half-hour or so, Koepka mostly either dodged questions or fired back contentious answers, at one point saying, “Just my opinion, man,” in response to a question about how he flipped his allegiance to LIV from the PGA Tour.
“It’s been pretty clear for a long time now that I’m with the PGA Tour, it’s where I’m staying,” Koepka said during the Phoenix Open in early February. “I’m very happy. I think they do things the right way, people I want to do business with.”
Later that month, he added of LIV: “Everyone talks about money. They’ve got enough of it. I don’t see it backing down. They can just double up and they’ll figure it out. They’ll get their guys. Somebody will sell out and go to it.”
Two weeks ago at the U.S. Open, Koepka was visibly miffed, and accused reporters of putting a “black cloud” over the championship. This despite rumors – which have now been substantiated – circulating that Koepka was as good as gone.
On Tuesday, a day after being officially announced as a member of the LIV tour, Koepka made yet another baffling statement, claiming that talks between he and LIV didn’t even begin until after he finished competing at The Country Club.
“You guys will never believe me, but we didn't have the conversation [with LIV] ‘til everything was done at the U.S. Open and figured it out and just said I was going to go one way or another,” Koepka stated. “Here I am.”
Koepka did not specifically mention financial incentives or what changed about the Tour doing things the “right way” in recent (checks notes) days. But he did go somewhat into detail about how injuries played a role in his decision.
He said LIV’s eight-event, spaced-out schedule was more appealing to him, especially after he rushed back last year after knee surgery that was supposed to keep him out six months. He had surgery on March 16 and returned to play in the Masters three weeks later. He also said he had been experiencing “burnout.”
“You're not doing a month on the road anymore,” Koepka said. “You know, life does go on even though when we're not playing golf. So being away from home for a month. I don't have any kids that I know about. So being at home is not really a thing for me, but life does go on. And like there's some things we miss at home, being friends, family, a lot of birthdays. It would just be nice to be home a little bit more.”
It’s worth nothing, however, that Koepka has teed it up just 11 times this calendar year, including only eight rounds since the Masters, which concluded on April 10. He also got married during that span. Plus, LIV's schedule demands – and the Tour's, for that matter – have been known for at least a couple months. Koepka, per his words, said he changed his mind in the past week or so.
Oh, and then there were these comments by Koepka at the U.S. Open: "I can come out here and play as little weeks as I want. I choose my own schedule regardless of what tour I play."
Koepka’s last three events have been majors, yet as a four-time major champion he’s not worried about his participation in future majors, even if LIV does not currently receive official world-ranking points.
“You play anywhere around the world, you'll be just fine, you'll get into them,” Koepka said. “I made a decision. I'm happy with it, and whatever comes of it, I'll live with it.”