Top players chase records not dollars – Webb Simpson dismisses breakaway plan
Former US Open champion Webb Simpson believes renewed plans for a breakaway Premier Golf League (PGL) remain “far-fetched” and feels top players should be focused on titles rather than money.
World number one Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Rose are among the players to have been offered lucrative contracts by Saudi Arabian investors to join the PGL, according to The Daily Telegraph.
A representative for Rose declined to comment when contacted by the PA news agency.
Under the PGL’s proposals outlined in January last year, 48 players would compete in an 18-event season offering a total prize fund of GBP 183million, but Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka – at the time the top three ranked players in the world – all ruled themselves out.
The European Tour told the PA news agency it opposed the plans “in the strongest possible terms”.
And, speaking ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship, Simpson told a pre-tournament press conference: “I don’t really get into the details at all, I let my agent handle everything, but from the beginning it seemed like something that seems pretty far-fetched to actually happen.
“It’s hard for me to believe that it’s really going to happen and the guys will really jump ship and go to a completely different way of golf than we’ve always had.
“Purses are going up, seems like we play better golf courses and golf course condition is getting better. Everything seems to be getting better with the PGA Tour.
“So I think there’s too many unknowns and too many things they would have to figure out for this thing to actually work. Are the best players in the world really going to go to this tour if only eight of the top 25 in the world ranking are going to go?
“I think as a top player I want to play against the best. At the end of the day, you have a career long enough, I think most of these guys, they’re financially set. They want to break records, they want to win.
“You create a new tour, all these records get kind of thrown out the window, I think. If I’m a guy who’s on my way to make history like a Dustin (Johnson) or, you know, a few other top guys, I want to go after records, not a dollar.”
In November, the European Tour and PGA Tour appeared to have dealt another blow to the PGL by agreeing a “strategic alliance”, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also taking a seat on the European Tour’s board.
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley admitted that the Raine Group, a private equity firm behind the PGL, had previously presented a “very compelling offer to take the European Tour to another level, but in a different direction”.
Pelley said in a statement to PA on Wednesday: “We are aligned with the PGA Tour in opposing, in the strongest possible terms, any proposal for an alternative golf league.
“Since the launch of our strategic alliance last November, our two organisations have been working together to make global golf less fractured and not create further division, with the interests of all players and fans at the forefront of our thinking.”
Romain Langasque equals course record to lead Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The Frenchman recovered from an early bogey with two eagles and eight birdies to reach 11 under par.
Rory McIlroy bemoans ‘ugly year’ and seeks solution to divide in golf world
The arrival of Saudi-backed LIV Golf series has fractured the game in 2022.
On this day in 2014 – Europe retain Ryder Cup with Gleneagles victory
The Gleneagles victory was Europe’s eighth win in 10 matches.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,