Surprised Rory McIlroy described Brooks Koepka’s decision to join LIV Golf as “pretty duplicitous” as the American four-time major winner became the latest star to join the Saudi Arabian-backed series.
In what was apparently a petty swipe at the PGA Tour, the American was announced as the next LIV Golf player minutes into a press conference where commissioner Jay Monahan was explaining sweeping changes to the established tour.
Koepka joins compatriots Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau in the new $250m eight-event series, which heads to Portland, Oregon, at Pumpkin Ridge next.
Northern Irishman McIlroy, who has been a fierce advocate for the PGA Tour, describing the series as a “money grab” years ago, admitted he was surprised that Koepka defected to LIV Golf.
"Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he said previously," he said.
"I think that's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys, because they say one thing and then they do another and I don't understand.
"I don't know if that's for legal reasons - I have no idea - but it's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing. In public and in private."
Koepka previously appeared frustrated with the media asking about LIV Golf at the most recent US Open, which was won by England’s Matt Fitzpatrick at The Country Club at Brookline.
The American complained that a “black cloud” was being cast over the series. Way back in February, Koepka suggested that his future was on the PGA Tour.
Koepka previously said: “They've [LIV Golf] 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."
It is not known how much Koepka’s signing on fee is. Mickelson’s reported fee is $200m, while Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau are allegedly being paid north of $100m.
PGA Tour commissioner Monahan said he hoped Koepka would remain on the tour, but no sooner had he muttered those words he was informed the American had left.
There were reports that Monahan was at Koepka’s wedding to Jena Sims a few weeks ago.
"As I told the players [on Tuesday], let me be clear, I am not naive. If this is an arms race, and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars trying to buy the game of golf," Monahan said.
"We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It's an irrational threat, one not concerned with return on investment or true growth of the game."
Greg Norman, LIV Golf investments CEO, said: “There's no understating the impact that Brooks Koepka has had on the game of golf in the last five years. He carries a championship pedigree and record of success as one of the most elite players in the world."
The PGA Tour has already suspended 17 members who took part in the first event at Centurion Club, which was won by South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel.
Schwartzel took home $4m for the title and another $750,000 for winning the team element part of the event.