Mickelson has previously blasted the PGA Tour, saying that the “beyond obnoxious” greed is what’s caused him and other players to consider joining the Saudi Golf League. Mickelson has since apologized for prior statements. But in his apology, Mickelson maintained that “golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption.”
Koepka offered his thoughts on the matter. And while he was far more diplomatic with Mickelson than other golfers have been, he did issue his support for the PGA Tour.
“I’m happy with the PGA Tour,” Koepka said, per Mike Purkey at SI.com. “I think everybody out here is happy. (Mickelson) can think whatever he wants to think, man. He can do whatever he wants to do. I think everybody out here is happy. I think a lot of people out here have the same opinion.”
Despite that, Koepka doesn’t think that the Saudi League is going to vanish. He knows that the Saudis have a lot of money and that someone will eventually take it.
“I think it’s going to still keep going,” Koepka said, per Purkey. “I think there will still be talk. I think … 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.”
Koepka’s comments are more or less in line with what we’ve heard from other golfers of his generation. Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have both recently expressed their desire to stay with the PGA Tour. They join a list of golfers that includes (per Bob Harig SI.com) “Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth.” Those are some of the biggest names in the world and, with the exception of Woods, are all in their primes.
Getting a big name like Mickelson would bolster the attention that the Saudi League (or any other potential rival league) would receive. But long-term staying power would depend on two things. One is money, which, as Koepka noted, the Saudis have. The other is top players who are not in the twilight of their careers.
Are Koepka’s feelings that “everyone out here is happy” correct? It sure seems that way. So far, no golfer in his prime has done anything close to committing to the Saudis.