Webb Simpson has dismissed the idea of a breakaway Premier Golf League as “pretty far-fetched” after high-profile PGA Tour players were reportedly offered $30m to join the controversial Saudi-backed league.
A report in The Telegraph on Tuesday claimed that the PGL plans to start in September 2022 and has made formal offers to Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson to join the league, which would follow an F1-style format and feature “astronomical” prize money.
A meeting between players and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was held ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship on Tuesday, in which it was made clear that players who joined the PGL would risk being banned from competing on the PGA Tour.
The PGA Tour recently implemented a $40m Player Impact Program to reward the highest-profile players regardless of their performance on the course, while the European Tour is said to have previously turned down a $200m buyout offer from the PGL.
Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, admitted it’s hard to “believe that it’s really going to happen” and that players should focus on records rather than prize money.
“Yeah, it’s been an interesting couple of years with this other league,” Simpson said. “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.
“You know, to come in and shake up the way golf’s always been. I don’t have any up-to-date information I guess as to how it’s progressed in the last couple of months.
“I haven’t talked really about it since The Players Championship. I love the PGA Tour. It’s given me an incredible opportunity these last 12 years of my life.
“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.”
The British-based World Golf Group had publicly unveiled its plan in 2020 for a new global tour – the Premier Golf League (PGL) – comprising 18 yearly events featuring 48 players. Each tournament would have prize money of $10 million.
The PGL had said it wanted to work with established tours rather than as a breakaway circuit, but the PGA and European Tours were dismissive about the circuit.
Former world No 1 Rory McIlroy also rejected the idea, saying he wanted autonomy over his career choices.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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