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Report: Norman, LIV Golf asks players to challenge PGA Tour on antitrust laws — Saudi golf league updates

Ben Jared

By Joel Beall and Dan Rapaport
According to a Golf Channel report, LIV Golf Investments CEO Greg Norman sent a memo to agents and players saying the proposed Super Golf League seeks to challenge the PGA Tour’s ability to ban players.

Rex Hoggard reports that Norman and LIV believe such a ban will violate antitrust laws and laid out their case with seven bullet points.

“Permanently banning from the PGA Tour professional tournament golfers who contract to play professional golf would violate its non-profit purpose and would subject the PGA Tour to possible liability or government action, and could cause it to lose its non-profit status for not operating in accordance with its exempt purpose,” read one of the points, according to Hoggard.

One of the provisions in the PGA Tour Player Handbook and Tournament Regulations is that each PGA Tour member acknowledges the commissioner, the tour’s policy board and the appeals committee have the authority to permanently ban a member from playing in a tour co-sponsored, approved or coordinated tournaments if the member violates its regulations. Legal experts have told Golf Digest that the tour would be within its legal rights to suspend or ban players under current antitrust legislation in the United States. —Joel Beall


Koepka, Fowler don’t think Saudi golf threat is over

FEB. 23, 3:00 p.m.: PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — On Sunday night at the end of the Genesis Invitational, Rory McIlroy described the proposed Saudi-backed golf league as “dead in the water” in the wake of the backlash from Phil Mickelson’s incendiary comments about the Saudi league, and Dustin Johnson’s and Bryson DeChambeau’s statements that they were sticking with the PGA Tour leaving almost every top-ranked player publicly aligned with the tour. “Who’s left?” he asked rhetorically. “Who’s left to go? I mean, there’s no one.”

Not everyone, however, is convinced that this is the last we’ll hear of the Super Golf League. Speaking Wednesday at the Honda Classic, Brooks Koepka, among those who’ve sided with the PGA Tour, sounded doubtful when asked about whether the existential threat of the SGL has ended.

“I think it’s going to still keep going,” Koepka said. “I think there will still be talk … 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.”

To his point, the Saudi Public Investment Fund is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds on the planet, and total assets are valued somewhere around $500 billion. Based on the reported deals being offered to players to consider a move to the SGL, it also appears that earning a profit isn’t the chief concern of the breakaway league. Combine those two factors—a bottomless war chest, plus a goal that may be tied to image management rather than profit—and you have a recipe for an ongoing threat. There’s no reason that everything that happened over the past month won’t simply repeat in another month, or a year.

Rickie Fowler, interviewed later in the afternoon, concurred with Koepka.

“I’ve known those guys for quite a while. I’ve played with Maj and Yasir in the pro-am over in Abu Dhabi,” he said, referring to Majed Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Public Investment Fund. “They love golf. They’re golf nerds kind of like all of us. No, I don’t see it going away. They’re not scared about the situation.”

The difference this time is that Mickelson, previously the face of the new enterprise, may have permanently burned his connection with the Saudis, his apology notwithstanding. When asked about that statement, Koepka was noncommittal but seemed firmly aligned against Mickelson.

“I mean, I skimmed it over,” he said. “I’m happy with the PGA TOUR. I think everybody out here is happy. He 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.”

Koepka is the highest-ranked player at this week’s Honda Classic, and is coming off a missed cut at the Genesis Invitational after finishing tied for third a week earlier at the WM Phoenix Open.

Fowler didn’t necessarily seem eager for the Saudi threat to die out, saying that, “competition is a good thing.”

“Do I think the PGA TOUR is the best place to play currently? Yes,” he added. “Do I think it could get better? Yes.” —Shane Ryan


The Saudi golf league’s rough week: Seven days that changed everything 

Oisin Keniry

A favourite cliché surrounding the proposed Saudi-backed golf league has been what would happen if “the dominos started to fall.” Say a top-ranked player went ahead and publicly revealed he had signed up for the upstart PGA Tour competitor, swayed by the guaranteed money, limited fields and team competition that Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Investments alleged to have on the table. Would another player follow soon after? And another? And another … until the so-called Super Golf League had gained the critical mass needed to go from rumour to rival?

The dominos did start to fall last week, but as it turned out, they dropped in the opposite direction. Instead of defectors, player after player—Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Will Zalatoris to name a few—stepped up at the Genesis Invitational to throw their support behind the PGA Tour. Yes, the tour has its flaws, some of which have been addressed due to the pressure that the looming league provides (see the increased purses/FedEx Cup payouts for 2022 and the newly created Player Impact Program), but the chaos that a competing circuit would create might be far worse. Something about the devil you know, to use another cliché.

The two biggest—and potentially most surprising—dominos to drop came on Sunday with Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. The major champions both were reported to be looking seriously at lucrative offers from the Saudi league only to announce they were staying put.

Unknown at this point is whether their decisions were hastened—if not altered—by the toxic fallout from Phil Mickelson’s comments about the Saudi league. On Thursday, the Fire Pit Collective’s Alan Shipnuck reported on an interview he had done with Mickelson last November for an upcoming biography on Lefty. According to Shipnuck, Mickelson in the interview acknowledged he had been working behind-the-scenes with SGL organisers in hopes of building the league up in part to pressure the PGA Tour to make changes.

“They’re scary —— to get involved with,” Mickelson told Shipnuck.

Swiftly, the conversation changed; if players were somehow previously able to overlook the motives behind the SGL, it was much harder when Mickelson had so blatantly laid them out.

Only days after upwards of 20 players were reportedly signed up for the SGL, it’s unclear how many of them remain—and exactly what caliber of player they might be. “Who’s left? Who’s left to go? I mean, there’s no one,” said Rory McIlroy, an ardent PGA Tour supporter, on Sunday after the final round at Riviera. “It’s dead in the water in my opinion. I just can’t see any reason why anyone would go.”

Among the players who have previously voiced interest are Adam Scott and Lee Westwood. Other players reportedly mulling offers included Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson. Indeed, there are some that are still out there but no player inside the top 20 of the World Ranking appears to be among them.

Asked if it would be more shocking for a player now to announce he was set to play in the rival league than it might have been before, McIlroy had this response:

“Well, it would be because who else have you got to fill the field? I mean, Greg Norman would have to tee it up to fill the field. Like, I mean seriously? I mean, who else is going to do it? I don’t think they could get 48 guys.”

It’s easy to say that the SGL threat is no more, but don’t forget that Norman’s LIV Golf Investments has already ponied up $300 million toward the Asian Tour presumably to lay the groundwork for the league. To think the group will fold things up at this point would be a mistake.

Even so, for those who expressed they were experiencing “Saudi fatigue” with all the talk of the rival league, Sunday brought an appreciated chance to exhale. —Ryan Herrington


Major champs thought to be leaning toward rival league say they’re sticking with the PGA Tour

Feb. 20, 4 p.m.: The proposed Saudi golf league seemed to take a big hit on Sunday when a pair of major champions—Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau—both announced they would continue to play the PGA Tour.

Johnson and DeChambeau both reportedly had been heavily considering offers to join the proposed Saudi golf league. As recently as last month during a press conference ahead of the Saudi International, Johnson noted that there were aspects of the team competition believed to be part of the new circuit that appealed to him.

But, ultimately, the 24-time PGA Tour winner decided against jumping.

“Over the past several months, there has been a great deal of speculation about an alternative tour; much of which seems to have included me and my future in professional golf. I feel it is now time to put such speculation to rest. I am fully-committed to the PGA Tour. I am grateful for the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and for all it has provided me and my family. While there will always be areas where our tour can improve and evolve, I am thankful for our leadership and the many sponsors who make the PGA Tour golf’s premier tour.”

A few hours later DeChambeau took to social media to say he, too, was sticking with the PGA Tour, albeit with a caveat:

“While there has been a lot of speculation surrounding my support for another tour, I want to make it very clear that as long as the best players in the world are playing the PGA Tour, so will I,” DeChambeau said on social media. “As of now, I am focused on getting myself healthy and competing again soon. I appreciate all the support.”

DeChambeau reportedly had been offered a nine-figure deal to join the Super Golf League, to which the former U.S. Open champion said was wrong. And earlier this week DeChambeau tried to bat down speculation that he was not playing in the Genesis Invitational because he was set to join the breakaway league, taking again to social media to say that there were “many false reports” that were “completely inaccurate” and that he was missing Genesis due to injuries that also caused him to withdraw from the Saudi International last month.

Still, DeChambeau’s statement on Sunday was the first time that he had publicly committed to playing on the PGA Tour in the future. —Ryan Herrington


REPORT: Trump properties in talks to host Saudi’s SGL events

Drew Angerer

Former President Donald Trump’s golf organisation is in talks to host tournaments for the proposed Saudi golf league, according to a report from the Washington Post.

No Laying Up first reported in 2021 that Trump’s properties were being scouted to host Super Golf League events. However, the Post reports LIV Golf Investments—the Saudi-backed group that will run the SGL—is in discussions with Trump’s company to place competitions in Bedminster, N.J. and Doral, Fla.

The Doral site was an annual PGA Tour stop for over 50 years, but the tour moved the tournament to Mexico City in 2016 following controversial comments made by Trump towards immigrants during his presidential run. As for the Bedminster property, it was selected to host the 2022 PGA Championship by the PGA of America in 2014. However, days after supporters of Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress to formalize President Joe Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6, 2021, the PGA of America’s board of directors exercised a vote to move its tournament from the Bedminster course, later awarding it to Southern Hills in Tulsa.

Trump was an advocate of Saudi interests during his presidency and defended the kingdom in the face of criticism for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. – Joel Beall


Pat Perez says no one will follow Phil, Bryson to SGL

Feb. 17, 9:19 p.m.: Following his first round at the Genesis Invitational, PGA Tour veteran Pat Perez held court on Phil Mickelson’s statements about the Saudi-back golf league.

Perez, who like Mickelson hails from San Diego, said Lefty “is not speaking for me.” Perez also said he doesn’t “really care what [Mickelson] has to say about anything because I just don’t.”

“He’s had an amazing career, he obviously thinks there’s something else on the other side for him going down the line,” Perez continued. “If he gets it, great. He’s made $800 million on the tour, I don’t know what could be so bad about the tour. So I don’t know, I don’t know.”

Without stopping, Perez pivoted to state that his mindset about the potential rival league to the PGA Tour is more aligned with a different multiple-major winner.

“I think the way Tiger’s approaching it is phenomenal. I think he understands where he made all his money. I think these young kids, I think that’s great that they’re backing Tiger. But Tiger, Tiger’s our guy. Tiger and I are three months apart. I idolized him my whole life even though we’re the same age. What he says is pretty much gold. You know, I would follow his lead more than anything. If he doesn’t want to do it, Rory [McIlroy] doesn’t want to do it and if you don’t have the top kids doing it, I just don’t know how much water it’s going to hold anyway. I don’t know how long it’s going take.

“They’re not going to follow Phil, they’re not going to follow DeChambeau unfortunately. You need the young crew right now to go do this thing. I don’t know exactly what Phil, why he’s got so much hate towards the tour. I mean, He’s damn near 52 now. I know he won a major last year. It’s incredible what he did, it really is, but I don’t know, you know.”

Perez said he understands the gripes that the top players should make more money. Although he acknowledged he makes crumbs compared to them, “those crumbs pay nice.” Perez also said he understands why rumoured players would make the jump.

“So you look at the older group that wants to do it, they all have had phenomenal careers. Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Phil, these older guys that are my age. You throw me a hundred and I actually get it, I’m gone. I would take it. Why wouldn’t you?” He also said he likes the idea of some guaranteed money for the top 125 players.

Still, Perez says his commitment is to the PGA Tour.

“I’m all for building the tour, but like I said, I think the PGA Tour’s a phenomenal place to play, you know, and I’m lucky to be here.” —Joel Beall

Niemann declines comment on Saudi league

Feb. 17, 8:49 p.m.: Joaquin Niemann, who is leading the Genesis Invitational after 18 holes thanks to an eight-under 63, declined comment when asked if he’s in talks with the Saudi golf league.

“I don’t really want to say anything, any comment about it,” Niemann said Thursday. “I just don’t want to say anything, sorry.”

Niemann, 23, was a participant in the Saudi International earlier this month. —Joel Beall


Kokrak says he’s had talks with Saudi league

Feb. 17, 4:48 p.m.: Jason Kokrak acknowledged Thursday that he’s had talks with the Saudi group behind the proposed Super Golf League.

“Yes, I’ve heard the rumors, I’ve been in some talks with the people over there playing in there tournament,” Kokrak told Golf Digest’s Dan Rapaport. “Yeah, I’ve been in talks with people, nothing on paper.”

Kokrak, who turned in a first-round 67 at Riviera, is a Saudi Golf ambassador and played in this year’s Saudi International. He reiterated he wants to make as much money as possible to retire at 44 years old (Kokrak is 36).

“You know, I grew up … I had what I needed but I didn’t have extra stuff. I don’t know how the other players grew up, that’s there business. We’re all independent contractors … I’ve had a goal in my mind when I turned pro and that was to retire when I was 44, to be a father and be at home. Being out here, the PGA Tour has too many events.

“You don’t see the players with the longevity playing 25, 30 years and moving to the Champions Tour. There’s too much on the line with the FedEx Cup, there’s points on the line in the fall. … The tour is all about giving player opportunities. The veteran guys, the top guys don’t want to play a schedule from Jan. 1 to December. So, I think that offseason for the top guys, to give some of those other guys who are barely keeping their card or didn’t make a ton of money a chance to get some of that PGA Tour money.” —Joel Beall


Justin Thomas calls Mickelson’s statement ‘egotistical’

Feb. 17, 4:30 p.m.: Justin Thomas’ play did plenty of talking at Riviera Thursday, his four-under 67 good enough for a spot among the first wave leaders. The former PGA champ made quite the statement afterwards behind the mic.

Thomas was asked if he had seen Phil Mickelson’s comments in Thursday’s report at the Fire Pit Collective. Thomas said he had not, but was given the synopsis that Mickelson is leveraging the proposed Saudi golf league to better the PGA Tour. With this summary in hand, Thomas did not hold back.

“Seems like a bit of a pretty, you know, egotistical statement,” Thomas said. “I don’t know, it’s like he’s done a lot of great things for the PGA Tour, it’s a big reason it is where it is, but him and others that are very adamant about that, if they’re that passionate, go ahead. I don’t think anybody’s stopping them.”

Thomas was then asked if he feels the sport has reached a will-they-or-won’t-they precipice with some of the players rumored to be affiliated with the Super Golf League.

“I’m way past that,” Thomas said. “I’ve heard way too much talk about a lot of players that are so done with everything, but they keep hanging around, so clearly they’re not too done.” Thomas, a former FedEx Cup champ, has been adament that his loyalty is to the PGA Tour. —Joel Beall


Report: 20 players have signed up for SGL, announcement coming at Players

Feb. 17, 8:40 a.m.: According to Alan Shipnuck of the Fire Pit Collective, the Saudi-backed league has now signed 20 players to its circuit, with plans to formally announce the group at the Players Championship. Shipnuck reported the news on Twitter, stating the source of the information was “a very prominent agent.” The source said that the 20-player threshold was the number officials with the Saudi league internally were waiting for before publically launching the league.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has promised any player that joins a rival circuit faces immediate suspension and a possible lifetime ban. —Joel Beall


Rahm backs PGA Tour; Scott says he’s in talks with breakaway league

Feb. 16, 5:40 p.m.: The current World No. 1 is staying with the PGA Tour. A former World No. 1, however, may be on the move.

Amid growing speculation regarding a Saudi-backed golf league, Jon Rahm—in a bit of an impromptu press conference at the Genesis Invitational—reiterated his stance that he is sticking with the PGA Tour.

“I wanted to take the time to say, this is my official, one and only time I’ll talk about this … I’m declaring my fealty to the PGA Tour,” Rahm said Wednesday. “I know there’s been a lot of talk with the Saudi league; this is something I don’t believe is the best for me and the future of golf, and I think the best legacy I can accomplish is with the PGA [Tour].

“I don’t do this for the money, which to me is the only appeal to go over there.”

But 2013 Masters champ Adam Scott’s allegiance seems to be up in the air, confirming he’s been in talks with the proposed Super Golf League.

“I think the schedule they’re proposing is very appealing to most golfers,” Scott said. “But like everyone else, we’re sworn to secrecy.”

Scott is likely referencing an NDA, one that Lee Westwood said he signed during the week of the Saudi International.

Scott, 41, won the Genesis in 2020. But since that victory he’s dropped nearly 40 spots in the World Ranking, entering the week at No. 46. —Joel Beall 

Sam Greenwood
Jon Rahm repeated that he’s not interested in any offers from a potential rival league to the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

The current World No. 1 is staying with the PGA Tour. A former World No. 1, however, may be on the move.

Amid growing speculation regarding a Saudi-backed golf league, Jon Rahm—in a bit of an impromptu press conference at the Genesis Invitational—reiterated his stance that he is sticking with the PGA Tour.

“I wanted to take the time to say, this is my official, one and only time I’ll talk about this … I’m declaring my fealty to the PGA Tour,” Rahm said Wednesday. “I know there’s been a lot of talk with the Saudi league; this is something I don’t believe is the best for me and the future of golf, and I think the best legacy I can accomplish is with the PGA [Tour].

“I don’t do this for the money, which to me is the only appeal to go over there.”

But 2013 Masters champ Adam Scott’s allegiance seems to be up in the air, confirming he’s been in talks with the proposed Super Golf League.

“I think the schedule they’re proposing is very appealing to most golfers,” Scott said. “But like everyone else, we’re sworn to secrecy.”

Scott is likely referencing an NDA, one that Lee Westwood said he signed during the week of the Saudi International.

Scott, 41, won the Genesis in 2020. But since that victory he’s dropped nearly 40 spots in the World Ranking, entering the week at No. 46. —Joel Beall


Oisin Keniry

Rory: “All that money really isn’t going to change their life”

Feb. 16, 11:50 a.m.: Rory McIlroy reiterated his stance against a rival league to the PGA Tour on Wednesday, calling the eye-popping sums the Saudi-backed venture is reportedly offering players “just a number.”

“Look, I’ve lived it—for the top guys, all that money really isn’t going to change their life,” McIlroy told Golf Digest ahead of the Genesis Invitational, his first start on the PGA Tour in 2022. “I’m in a way better financial position than I was a decade ago and my life is no different. I still use the same three, four rooms in my house. I just don’t see the value in tarnishing a reputation for extra millions.”

McIlroy, who serves on the PGA Tour’s policy board, spoke out against a rival circuit when news of it first began percolating in 2020 and has consistently maintained his opposition since. The 32-year-old has 20 wins on the PGA Tour and ranks sixth all-time in career earnings with more than $59 million.

The proposed rival league, which is expected to be launched by the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf Investments in the near future, has dominated conversations around Riviera after tour player Kramer Hickok told the Stripe Show Podcast that 17 players had already signed up for the league and that huge-money, no-cut events would begin this summer. —Dan Rapaport


Steph Chambers
Kramer Hickok plays a shot on the second hole during the first round of The American Express.

Tour pro tells podcast 17 players have signed up for rival circuit 

PGA Tour player Kramer Hickok claims that 17 players have signed on to the proposed Super Golf League.

Hickok, speaking Tuesday on the Stripe Show podcast, did not identify any specifically by name. However, Hickok alluded to the group not being short on star power.

“You’re going to see a lot of big names jump over there. I think there’s already been 17 guys that have jumped over, and I can’t say who they are, but there’s going to be some big names going over there,” Hickok said on the Stripe Show podcast. “Look, I mean, from what I’ve heard the money’s very, very appealing. You’re only gonna have 12-14 events. Those events are gonna have purses. You’re not going to have to deal with missing a cut anymore; there’s only going to 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 appealing for some of these guys. Yeah you’ll see some big names for sure.”

While Hickok asserted his belief that tour players should be receiving a bigger slice of the tour’s profits, he went on to say that those jumping to the SGL are “money-hungry.”

“I think you have to be thankful and appreciative for the tour. They’ve given us this platform to be able to chase our dreams and do what we love and make a great living doing it,” Hickok continued. “To go after a few extra bucks, I think it might be a little greedy because you don’t know how long that [SGL] tour is going to be around; you don’t know if that money’s going to dry up; you don’t know what’s going to happen, and if you do leave you’ll be banned from the tour; the tour’s come out and said that.”

Hickok said he’s heard the SGL is targeting a June start. The 29-year-old is 63rd in the FedEx Cup standings and is in this week’s Genesis Invitational field. —Joel Beall


Collin Morikawa says he won’t be joining SGL

Collin Morikawa dismissed the possibility of joining the rumoured Saudi-backed golf league, saying he is “all for the PGA Tour” at his pre-tournament press conference for the Genesis Invitational on Tuesday.

“My entire life I’ve thought about the PGA Tour,” the World No. 2 and Southern California native said ahead of his hometown event. “I’ve thought about playing against Tiger, beating his records, whatever, something that might not even be breakable, but I’ve never had another thought of what’s out there, right? I’ve never thought about anything else, it’s always been the PGA Tour.

“Has [the rival league] opened up things for us as professional golfers, to open up things for the PGA Tour to look at what to do better? Absolutely. We’ve seen a lot of changes, some good, some bad, some that are still going to be amended I’m sure as time goes on. Right now, you look at the best players that I see and they’re all sticking with the PGA Tour, and that’s where I kind of stay and that’s where I belong. I’m very happy to be here.” —Dan Rapaport


Icon Sportswire

Charley Hoffman says he should have phrased now-deleted Instagram post ‘differently’

Charley Hoffman is not backing down. Well, unless you believe deleting one of the spicier Instagram posts in recent memory—in which Hoffman called out the PGA Tour and the USGA for what he believed was a bad ruling—is backing down.

Despite the disappearance of the post from his Instagram account, Hoffman stands by what he said. He does, however, wish he had a mulligan of sorts, admitting as much in a radio interview on Monday on San Diego’s 97.3 The Fan.

“If I could go back in time, I probably would have phrased it a little differently at the end of those comments,” Hoffman told Gwynn & Chris, a show hosted by Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello.

Following the second round of the WM Phoenix Open, Hoffman ripped the PGA Tour and USGA for a rule and its enforcement, the rule and its enforcement, going so far as to say the situation was a prime example of why players are interested in leaving the tour for the proposed Super Golf League.

“You wonder why guys are wanting to jump ship and go play on another tour. Players need transparency, protection and consistency,” Hoffman wrote. “We don’t have that under the current governing bodies.”

Hoffman acknowledged the criticism he has received and admitted it affected his play over the weekend. “I lost a little bit of focus, definitely,” Hoffman said. “I was treading water with the PGA Tour and the USGA and my fellow players. When you make a post [on social media] there are a lot of different ways to interpret it; that’s this day and age of social media. So yes, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it. You live and you learn. I’ll own it, and I’ll try and stay out of it going forward.”

However, he reiterated his post was purposeful in order to grab attention.

“I’ve gotten a little backlash on that,” Hoffman added. “But I felt, at the time, if I didn’t phrase it the way I did, the media might not pick up on it and no change could happen.” —Chris Powers


Gregory Shamus

Bryson DeChambeau says reports on his PGA Tour status are ‘completely inaccurate’

Bryson DeChambeau took to Twitter Monday to clarify his absence from this week’s Genesis Invitational.

Amid speculation regarding his relationship and future with the PGA Tour, DeChambeau wrote that he’s missing this week’s tour event at Riviera Country Club outside Los Angeles due to injury and addressed what he calls “false reports.”

“There are many false reports going around by the media that are completely inaccurate,” wrote on Twitter. “Any news regarding my health or playing schedule will come directly from me and my team only. This is just another inaccurate report. I look forward to getting healthy and seeing everyone soon!”

DeChambeau’s statement came hours after the popular No Laying Up podcast relayed that the former U.S. Open winner—according to sources who had talked to the No Laying Up crew—had told his fellow players that he was done playing the PGA Tour. DeChambeau had originally stated to the players, according to the podcast, that the Sony Open would be his last event, although he withdrew from the Hawaiian tournament due to a wrist injury. DeChambeau would later play in the tour’s Farmers Insurance Open in late January. According to No Laying Up, DeChambeau again told fellow players he was done competing on the PGA Tour during the Saudi Invitational two weeks ago. DeChambeau only played one round at that tournament before withdrawing with hand and hip pain. Following his WD, DeChambeau said the injury wasn’t due to speed or weight training but a fall.

DeChambeau has been one of the more prominent names associated with the Super Golf League, a potential golf circuit to rival the PGA Tour backed by a group that also runs the aforementioned Saudi International. Earlier this month the Daily Mail reported DeChambeau has been offered a nine-figure deal to join the league, a report that DeChambeau said was wrong. And following the second round of last week’s WM Phoenix Open, in response to Charley Hoffman’s rant aimed at the PGA Tour—in which Hoffman wrote, “You wonder why guys are wanting to jump ship and go play on another tour” and tagged the Saudi International—DeChambeau lent his support, remarking “Agree wholeheartedly.” —Joel Beall


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