PGA Tour 2022, golf news, Saudi Arabia Super League, updates, what players are up to, prize money, value, Bryson DeChambeau

Rory McIlroy is ‘so fed up’ talking about the Saudi-backed $2.9bn Super Golf League proposal which now looks all but certain to take off, changing the sport as we know it.

The competition will go public next month after securing the signatures of at least 20 players, a prominent PGA Tour agent has said. respected golf journalist Alan Shipnuck.

An official announcement is expected at The Players Championship, a flagship PGA Tour event considered by many to be an unofficial “major fifth.”

Shipnuck says he “respects the wickedness” of it all – but McIlroy is fed up.

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It’s been golf’s hottest topic for more than two years, proving to be a major distraction for its detractors, led by McIlroy.

The feelings of the four-time major winner are clear: he wants to join as much as he wants to talk about it.

But the reality is that others do.

Not just intermediate Tour players who have given up chasing after the majors, or older players looking to relax while securing retirement funds quickly – although, naturally, those players are also interested.

Real stars of the game, current and emerging, are showing interest and are expected to leave the PGA Tour for the rebel league led by Greg Norman.

Money talks – and does it louder than McIlroy ever could.

“Oh, I’m so sick of it,” McIlroy told reporters ahead of the Genesis Invitational in Riviera, where talk of the Super Golf League came to a head this week.

“Certainly for younger people it just seems like a huge risk.

“I can maybe make sense of that for guys coming into the later stages of their careers, that’s for sure. I don’t think that’s really what a rival golf league is, that’s not what they’re going to want, is it? »

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Rory McIlroy is sick of talking about the Rebel League.Source: Getty Images

McIlroy is right.

No investor will pour nearly $3 billion into a glorified tour for the elderly — even with a seemingly bottomless pit of funds. So they are not.

We can’t say for sure who is in the group of 20 defectors, but the players well into their prime should be revealed.

Those approached are forced to remain silent, as Adam Scott told Australian media on Thursday.

When asked if he had participated in discussions, Scott replied: “Yes.

“But like everyone else, we are sworn to secrecy.”

Foxsports.com.au understands that Scott was offered a contract as early as May 2021, when 11 players including Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka were approached.

WHO COULD JOIN?

Earlier this week, Tour pro Kramer Hicock said he was aware of 17 players who had signed up and confirmed there would be “big name” inclusions.

“I can’t say who they are, but there will be some big names there,” Hickok told the Stripe Show Podcast.

“From what I’ve heard, money is very, very attractive.

“You’ll only have 12-14 events, those events will have purses, you won’t have to worry about missing a cup, there will only be 40 players, and 10 of those 14 events will be in the States.

“Signing bonuses, huge, huge purses, it’s going to be very attractive for some of these guys. Yeah, you’ll definitely see some big names.

DeChambeau is the biggest name to be linked, with the 28-year-old reportedly hunting down big fish investors to get the competition off the ground.

Some reports say the 2020 US Open champion has been offered over $200 million to be the ‘poster boy’.

DeChambeau dismissed the reports, but his denial was somewhat undermined by his longtime mentor Mike Schy’s admission that there is bad blood between the world No. 12 and the PGA Tour.

“Bryson has always had a tenuous relationship with the PGA Tour,” he said. The temperature. “It started from day one, his first tournament after turning pro in 2016.

“It was Wednesday at 2 p.m. and this PGA official came in and said, ‘Your putter is out of order.’ At that time, a lot of vans (of equipment) disappeared. Then this guy looks at me and says, ‘I don’t know if his irons are compliant either.’ It was the first day.

“Bryson is a rules guy, he wants to know the rules and have them in his favor. All of a sudden these guys started chasing him. It was like that for a long time.

“There’s probably bad blood on both sides.”

Phil Mickelson is in a similar boat, blowing up the PGA Tour last week, while playing in the Saudi international tournament, for embezzling money from his stars.

Some of the names linked to the Rebel League: Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.Source: AFP

One of his main complaints was that the players didn’t own any media rights to the footage or vision of them playing.

“If the tour wanted to end any threat, they could just return the media rights to the players,” he said.

“But they’d rather throw $25 million here and $40 million there than return the approximately $20 billion worth of digital assets they control. Or give up access to the more than $50 million they earn every year on their own media channel.

“There are a lot of issues, but this is one of the biggest.”

It comes from the player who won the PGA Tour’s inaugural AU$11.1 million Player Impact Program (PIP), which rewards the golfer with the most in-game presence based on various media metrics. .

Others have been less candid, but their silence inevitably says more than they perhaps would like.

Australia’s world number 11 Cameron Smith was evasive back and forth when asked about the Super Golf League last week.

“To be honest, I haven’t given it much thought. I have guys around me who think about that stuff,” Smith said.

“I’m just here to try to play the best I can. We’ll worry about that stuff when it happens.

Contacted by foxsports.com.au this week about the Super Golf League, Smith’s agent – along with Marc Leishman and Jason Day – declined to comment.

Australian legend Greg Norman leads the league.Source: Getty Images

WHO IS AGAINST?

On the other side of the fence Smith sits is McIlroy and world No. 1 Jon Rahm, who is also unwilling to give the rival league any air.

“This is my official, my one and only time I’m going to speak about it, where I officially declare my loyalty to the PGA Tour,” Rahm said.

“There has been a lot of talk and speculation about the Saudi league. It’s just not something that I believe is the best for me and my future in golf, and I think the best legacy I can accomplish will be with the PGA Tour.

Collin Morikawa joined Rahm saying, “I’m all for the PGA Tour.

“Right now you look at the best players I see and they all stick to the PGA Tour and that’s where I stay and that’s where I belong,” Morikawa said.

Meanwhile, McIlroy has warned defectors that the wealth of playing in the Saudi-backed league “really isn’t going to change their lives”.

“Look, I’ve been through it…I’m in a much better financial position than I was ten years ago and my life is no different,” he said. golf summary.

“I always use the same three, four rooms in my house. I just don’t see the point in tarnishing a reputation for millions more.

Realistically, contract values ​​and prices have to be ridiculous for the league to take off.

To join, a player must effectively denounce the PGA Tour or European Tour, thus sacrificing playing in one of the four organizations-aligned majors.

PGA Tour President Jay Monahan has confirmed that any player joining the Saudi-backed league faces immediate suspension and possible lifetime expulsion from the PGA Tour.

Players can also expect to draw the ire of contemporaries and legends – and that means nothing to be embroiled in ‘sportswashing’ by Saudi Arabia, which has an abysmal human rights record. man.

Jon Rahm is sticking to the PGA Tour.Source: Getty Images

However, all that is offered is obviously enough for some.

The players are believed to have been offered eight-figure contracts to join the league, which will easily go up to nine figures with a win on the tour.

Each event is also guaranteed a payday, unlike regular PGA Tour events where a golfer must make the cut to earn cash, some of which is used to pay for their caddy.

Scott said another major strength of the Super Golf League is reduced demand with a season that will last just 14 events, the vast majority in the United States.

“Well, when there are only 14 events on offer and you could choose to play other events, there seems to be time for a legitimate off-season and I think the PGA Tour really misses that in every way. , but definitely top players.” Scott said.

“I think we would all like to see a break and a break where you’re not penalized for taking a break, so I think that’s one of the big things.”

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WHAT DOES THE PGA TOUR DO?

In response, the PGA Tour tried to boost its appeal by increasing the FedEx Cup prize money while introducing the PIP, won by Mickelson.

In reality, it’s a bad deal with only 10 players making money out of the A$55m pool.

It’s a relative change from what the Super Golf League offers, as is the new A$70,000 bonus for any player to reach 15 starts in a season.

What happens next is anyone’s guess, but what’s certain is that the league has the potential to tear men’s professional golf to the core.

Nonetheless, Scott is confident that either way, this will prove to be a watershed moment for the sport.

“I think my general feeling about it right now is that it’s just a positive thing for professional golfers that there’s interest and money in the sport,” Scott said. .

“And it’s also kind of forced the PGA Tour to put more money into professional golfers and we see that all over the world… so it’s good for strengthening the professional game.

“I don’t know how everything else is going, but right now I think it’s good that these things are happening for golf professionals.”

Michael C. Ford