If Rory McIlroy killed the Premier Golf League with his comments at the WGC-Mexico Championship a few weeks ago, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm put it in the ground on Sunday.
“I am out of the PGL. I’m going with the PGA Tour,” Koepka told The Associated Press. “I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players.”
“I think what I’m going to do is focus on just the PGA Tour,” Rahm added to Golfweek. “At the end of the day I’m a competitor. I’m a PGA Tour member and I’m going to stay that way.”
And now you have the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 golfers in the world that have decried a Premier Golf League that’s still vying to get off the ground. Taking down a billion-dollar operation like the PGA Tour is no small task, and the PGL was trying to do it with bigger purses, smaller fields and a shorter season with team components. Doing so without the support of the three best players in the world? That’s going to be impossible.
What the PGL needed early on as it tried to upend the top organizations in professional golf was the interest and support of the best players in the world. It initially got interest from many of the top players in the world — who wouldn’t be interested in the kind of money the PGL was promising? — but it hasn’t gotten any commitments, and with these three speaking out against it, that’s not likely going to happen.
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t like it,” said McIlroy in Mexico. “The one thing as a professional golfer in my position that I value is the fact that I have autonomy and freedom over everything that I do. … I’ve never been one for being told what to do, and I like to have that autonomy and freedom over my career, and I feel like I would give that up by going to play this other league.
“For me, I’m out. My position is I’m against it until there may come a day that I can’t be against it. If everyone else goes, I might not have a choice, but at this point … I don’t like what they’re proposing.”
McIlroy was referencing the fact that the PGL was proposing a schedule in which participants would have to play in every event. Rahm and Koepka have different reasons but the same end result. They won’t be playing a different professional league.
On a tough week for the PGA Tour in which it had to cancel its biggest event on the early part of the calendar — the Players Championship — this is certainly good news. Couple that with the fact that the Tour just signed new content deals with CBS Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN+ and the PGL just got whatever leg it stood on swiped out from underneath it.