Sports | June 15, 2022 11:18 am

Brooks Koepka Should Get Used to LIV Golf’s “Black Cloud” at US Open

The four-time major champion chided reporters for asking him questions about the Saudi-backed golf series

Brooks Koepka walks the course at 2022 PGA Championship
Brooks Koepka is speaking out ahead of the 2022 U.S. Open at the Country Club.
Andrew Redington/Getty

With LIV Golf Invitational Series participants such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, Talor Gooch and Louis Oosthuizen set to tee off at the U.S. Open after playing in the Saudi-backed golf series last week, questions about the upstart tour aren’t going anywhere.

Answering questions from reporters on Tuesday, Brooks Koepka complained about the “black cloud” the new golf series is casting ahead of the U.S. Open. Unfortunately for the four-time major champion, that cloud is going to be lingering for a long, long time.

“I’m trying to focus on the U.S. Open, man,” Koepka said. “I legitimately don’t get it. I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff. Like I said, y’all are throwing a black cloud on the U.S. Open. I think that sucks. I actually do feel bad for the [USGA] for once because it’s a shitty situation. We’re here to play, and you are talking about an event that happened last week.”

As long as former major winners like Mickelson, Johnson and Garcia, who are suspended from playing on the PGA Tour but can play in the U.S. Open because it is run by The United States Golf Association, stay with the Saudi-backed series, the questions are going to keep coming.

Speaking with Jim Nantz during the CBS broadcast of the Canadian Open last weekend, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan asked a pertinent question of his own. “I would ask any player that has left, or any player that would consider leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” he said.

It’s a fair query and one that players like Mickelson and Johnson will have to continue to answer as long as they keep taking big money from an organization that draws its cash from a very unsavory source. As is becoming clear, the payouts the LIV golfers are taking are the equivalent of blood money and outrage about that isn’t going anywhere.

 “If Vladimir Putin had a tournament, would you play that?” LIV golfers Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood were asked last week. “In a generality, is there any way you wouldn’t play on a moral basis? If the money was right, is there any way you wouldn’t play?”

Neither player had a good answer — because there isn’t one. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have been asked. Those questions are going to keep coming and, whether Koepka likes it or not, the black cloud will keep hanging.

The U.S. Open begins on Thursday at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.