Premier Golf League resurfaces with $30m offers to top players

The Premier Golf League has resurfaced, with world No 1 Dustin Johnson among the players reported to have been offered $30 million up front to be part of it.

Dustin Johnson pictured during the third round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in March. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose have also been promised big-money carrots by Saudia Arabia investors to tee up on the breakaway circuit.

The report said the Premier Golf League, which is likely to force top players to choose between the PGA Tour/European Tour and the new circuit, is scheduled to begin in 2022.

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On the back of the Daily Telegraph report, two agents who wished to remain anonymous confirmed to ESPN that the Premier Golf League is again courting players.

"It's still alive, and players and agents are just listening to their pitch," one agent told ESPN. "That's about it at this point. Just a lot of listening.''

Opposition to the proposal has not deterred the Saudi Arabian backers from pushing ahead with the bid to shake up the sport.

“It is still in negotiation,” Majed Al Sorour, Golf Saudi’s CEO, told The Scotsman last September of the plan by which 48 elite players will compete in a Formula One-style team and individual format over 18 worldwide tournaments.

The group behind the ambitious project used the Saudi International last February to make their sales pitch to players including Mickelson, the five-time major champion being impressed by what he heard.

The PGA Tour and European Tour both strongly opposed the concept, with Koepka and Rory McIlroy saying they had no interest in being involved in a breakaway circuit.

But it was reported last summer that the Premier Golf League was still on the table, formal letters having been submitted to a batch of top players.

“You will have resistance from different places,” added Al Sorour. “But I think it is a really great idea. It doesn’t have to be bad or good.

“It is something creative that we think is going to be the new world of golf eventually. We are still thinking it is the right way to go.”

According to the Daily Telegraph story, the Premier Golf League would offer the top players $30 million up front with a share of the teams they would be part of.

Webb Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, said he believes the concept of the Premier Golf League is “pretty far-fetched”.

Speaking ahead of this week’s PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, the world No 9 added: “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.

“I think there's too many unknowns and too many things they would have to figure out for this thing to actually work. Are the best players in the world really going to go to this tour if only eight of the top 25 in the world ranking are going to go?

“I don't think throwing X amount of money at guys is as appealing now as it maybe once was because of how great the opportunities we have on the PGA Tour.”

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