Golf: American star Brooks Koepka poised to join exodus to Saudi-backed LIV tour

Brooks Koepka in action at the US Open on Monday.
Brooks Koepka in action at the US Open on Monday. Photo credit: Getty Images

Brooks Koepka is expected to join the LIV Golf Series and participate in the first event in the United States on June 30.

Koepka is ranked No.19 in the official world golf rankings, but reportedly will depart the PGA Tour for the LIV in the coming days.

The building current behind the start-up tour would include eight of the top 50 in the rankings, including Koepka's nemesis, Bryson DeChambeau (30th). 

Mexico's Abraham Ancer has become the latest player to officially jump to the LIV Golf Invitational Series, with the breakaway Saudi-backed venture announcing the world No.20 would be in a 48-man field at the next event in Portland.

As friction builds between players and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, 17 players have been suspended from playing in Tour events, including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Presumably, Koepka - a four-time Major winner - would be added to the banned list, as would Ancer, 31.

Spain's Jon Rahm, who said he was offered US$400 million (NZ$631m) to join the LIV, and Ireland's Rory McIlroy have been vocal in their position against leaving the PGA Tour, but the limited schedule of events and "off-course" opportunities are being cited by players signing onto the LIV, including Mickelson.

The Travelers Championship kicks off Thursday and Koepka is entered in the event.

Koepka is close friends with Johnson and brother Chase played in the inaugural event in London.

Injuries have slowed Brooks Koepka since he was ranked No. 1 in the world for 47 weeks, recording back-to-back wins at both the PGA Championship (2018-19) and US Open (2017-18).

Before the US Open, Koepka, 32, said media was responsible for the uproar over the player exodus to the LIV and giving the new tour "legs".

"I'm here at the US Open," he said. "I'm ready to play the US Open and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the US Open.

"It's one of my favorite events. I don't know why you guys keep doing that.

"The more legs you give [LIV Golf], the more you keep talking about it."