Koepka responds to McIlroy criticism and explains LIV Golf decision

By Sports Desk June 29, 2022

Brooks Koepka has no issue with Rory McIlroy's criticism of his decision to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series, a move he said was taken to allow more flexibility over his schedule.

Former world number one Koepka had previously stated his allegiance to the PGA Tour and commented in February that "somebody will sell out and go for it".

Koepka was not involved in the first event at Centurion Club earlier this month and was critical of reporters for casting a "black cloud" over the U.S. Open when players were probed about the controversial Saudi-backed series, which has been accused of sportswashing.

However, the four-time major winner has now signed up for the breakaway series and will tee off in Portland this week, joining the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson in doing so.

When asked about Koepka's decision last week, McIlroy said: "Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he [Koepka] said previously. That's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys, because they say one thing and then they do another. It's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing."

Asked about McIlroy's comments, Koepka replied: "Look, I've got respect for Rory as a player. He's good. He's phenomenal. 

"I'll be honest with you, I didn't see it. I didn't hear about it until basically like a day ago. So, look, he's entitled to his opinion. He can think whatever he wants. He's going to do what's best for him and his family, I'm going to do what's best for me and my family, and I can't hate on anybody for that."

Koepka insists he had not made a decision until after the U.S. Open. Asked what had changed since, he said: "Just my opinion, man. My opinion changed. That was it. 

"You guys will never believe me, but we didn't have the conversation '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. Here I am."

Koepka has slid down to world number 19 after contending with a series of injuries to his hip, knee and wrist.

The 32-year-old believes signing up to the LIV series will allow him more time to recover physically.

"What I've had to go through the last two years on my knees, the pain, the rehab, all this stuff, you realise, you know, I need a little bit more time off," Koepka said. 

"I'll be the first one to say it, it's not been an easy last couple of years, and I think having a little more breaks, a little more time at home to make sure I'm 100 per cent before I go play in an event and don't feel like I'm forced to play right away [is good]."

Asked about accusations of sportswashing levelled against the series, Koepka replied: "You know, we've heard it. I think everybody has. It's been brought up.

"But, look, like we said, our only job is to go play golf, and that's all we're trying to do. We're trying to grow the game, do all this other stuff. And we're trying the best we can."

While several players have resigned their PGA Tour membership, including fellow defector Patrick Reed, Koepka has not done so as yet.

It remains to be seen long term what decisions will be taken by the major championships over the participation of players who have jumped ship to LIV Golf.

Koepka insists he is comfortable with whatever outcome occurs.

"You play anywhere around the world, you'll be just fine. You'll get into them. I made a decision. I'm happy with it, and whatever comes of it, I'll live with it," he said.

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