January 28, 2020 / 8:50 PM / in 24 days

Koepka says proposed new world tour might actually happen

(Reuters) - World number one Brooks Koepka said on Tuesday he thinks the Premier Golf League (PGL), a proposed series that could potentially overshadow the main tours, might actually happen after plans were announced last week.

FILE PHOTO: Aug 25, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Brooks Koepka lines up his putt on the fifth green during the final round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

While Koepka acknowledged he still had much to learn about the specifics of the proposed circuit, he said he would likely be one of the first to decide whether to participate.

Speaking ahead of this week’s Saudi International, Koepka expressed interest in learning more about the British-based World Golf Group’s (WGG) plans.

After working quietly for years behind the scenes, the WGG on Saturday went public with an outline of what it says would be a series of 18 yearly tournaments starting in 2022.

Each event would feature 48 players competing over three rounds for $10 million, using a team franchise system.

If it comes to fruition, the new tour would be the biggest shakeup to professional golf in decades, though many hurdles remain to be cleared for it to become a reality.

“I think this might actually happen,” American Koepka told reporters.

“This is all basically a month old for me when I realised that, okay, well, this could be a possibility. Things are, I guess, developing, even as we speak.

“When things are more finalised and kind of put in stone and I understand it and I exactly know where things are falling, then I’ll be probably one of the first ones to make a choice or figure out what I’m going to do.”

None of the top players asked about the proposed tour in recent days, including Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, have ruled out participating, even as the PGA Tour has told players that prize money at the Players Championship in March will jump to a record $15 million.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also told players last week that tour purses would just about double within the next five years.

Recent world number one Dustin Johnson, who is also competing in Saudi Arabia this week, said the PGL “sounds interesting” but that it would take a lot to lure him away from the PGA Tour if it meant relinquishing his membership.

Asked if by “a lot” he meant financially, Johnson said: “I think probably in every way you could think of.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis

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