The LIV Golf Series’ rumored second wave could soon be crashing down on American shores — and it has the magnitude to drastically reshape the landscape of professional golf.
Golf Monthly on Friday published a stunning list of names — Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele — that could take a serious bite out of the PGA Tour talent pool while tipping the balance toward Greg Norman’s band of rebels like no previous defection.
These players fit a profile the startup league has lacked. Koepka may be injury-prone, but he’s a four-time major champ under the age of 35. Morikawa is ranked fourth in the world, bagged two majors in his first eight starts and is still only 25. Hovland, who’s eighth in the world, and Schauffele (15th) would give LIV two additional 20something studs who are among the PGA Tour’s most popular young stars.
Since then, however, Schauffele went on record with a denial that doubles as a shot across the bow.
Some rumors flying, so I asked Xander Schauffele about LIV. He said he’s not going, although he didn’t slam the door on the idea.
“I want to play against the best players in the world, and they’re on the PGA Tour. Nobody that has left has moved the needle for me.”
— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) June 18, 2022
“I want to play against the best players in the world, and they’re on the PGA Tour,” Schauffele told Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier on Saturday. “Nobody that has left has moved the needle for me.”
But with or without the reigning Olympic gold medalist, LIV Golf is clearly gaining momentum. And another top-20 player who wasn’t initially named by Golf Monthly has since surfaced in multiple reports. Abraham Ancer, 31, could reportedly jump ship as early as Monday — and more announcements are expected to follow.
Ancer is 100% gone.
There will be more announcements rolled out one by one this week. https://t.co/TwPqjDHZo5
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) June 19, 2022
The tension will be ratcheted up exponentially next month as the series begins an American swing at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Ore. Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are expected to make their debuts there, and it will be fascinating to monitor who may or may not be enticed to follow suit.
UPDATE, JUNE 21, 2022 – 10:30 A.M. ET
Collin Morikawa shut down rumors on Tuesday morning, tweeting that he will not be heading to the LIV Golf Series.
To state for the record, once again, you all are absolutely wrong. I’ve said it since February at Riviera that I’m here to stay on the @PGATOUR and nothing has changed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cereal to pour in my milk
— Collin Morikawa (@collin_morikawa) June 21, 2022