Golf faces a huge battle for its future amid Saudi Arabia’s $300m dollar investment in the Asia Tour, which is attempting to lure the biggest names from the PGA and European Tours with the promise of huge payments in its new Super Golf League.
The idea has received staunch criticism from some in the golf community including Rory McIlroy who labelled the project a “money grab” and raised ethical concerns over accepting cash from a country with such a poor human rights record, while Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth have raised their own doubts about the plans.
But some of those players who are coming towards the end of their careers are carefully considering the proposals. Lee Westwood has previously said it would be a “no-brainer” to accept a multi-million pound contract as he nears 50 years old, and Mickelson, 51, issued a scathing criticism of the PGA Tour’s control of media rights.
“They have access to my shots, access I do not have,” Mickelson complained to GolfDigest. “They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. And when I did ‘The Match’—there have been five of them—the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights. That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”
Responding to the quotes posted on Instagram, a typically confrontational Koepka commented: “I don’t know if I’d be using the word greedy if I’m Phil.”
Time will tell whether enough players will be coaxed over to a Super Golf League to make it a viable model, and whether the existing can and will follow through with threats to ban players from future tournaments.