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.”
Lee Westwood: From winning the Race to Dubai to sitting outside the top 100 in the rankings
The Englishman needs a good end to the regular season if he is to make the DP WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP at Jumeirah in Dubai.
Japanese golfing hero Hideki Matsuyama’s top five PGA Tour victories
Following his victory on home soil in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP we take a look at the 29-year-old’s finest PGA Tour moments.
Mallorca champion Jeff Winther nearly missed final round due to bathroom drama
Winther’s six-year-old daughter had to come to the rescue.
Jeff Winther claims maiden European Tour title with Mallorca victory
The 33-year-old Dane finished one shot clear of Sebastian Soderberg, Pep Angles and Jorge Campillo.
Hideki Matsuyama triumphs on home soil to take ZOZO Championship title
Matsuyama finished five shots clear of runner-up Brendan Steele.
Hideki Matsuyama one shot in front heading into final round of ZOZO Championship
The 29-year-old Japanese held a three-shot advantage at one stage down the back nine.
Matt Wallace remains in contention at ZOZO Championship after strong finish
Wallace was two over par for his first 15 holes at Narashino Country Club but birdied the 16th, 17th and 18th to add a 69 to his opening 65.
Matt Wallace two shots off the lead after first round of the ZOZO Championship
Home favourite Hiroshi Iwata led the way on seven under.
Collin Morikawa looking forward to having fans back in Japan
The American is racking up the miles as he contends at the start of the PGA Tour season and the end of the European Tour campaign.
Rory McIlroy’s 20 PGA Tour wins: From the breakthrough in 2010 to THE CJ CUP last week
The Northern Irishman was supreme at the weekend, holding off the challenge of Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa in Las Vegas.