PGA Tour pro Kramer Hickok made some news this week with comments during a Stripe Show podcast.
Hickok, who became a bit of a folk hero during his eight-hole playoff loss to Harris English at the Travelers Championship last year, claimed 17 players have signed on to the proposed Saudi-backed Super League that would conflict with the American tour. He did not identify any names but suggested the group contained plenty of star power.
“You’re going to see a lot of big names jump over there,” Hickok said. “I think there’s already been 17 guys that have jumped over, and I can’t say who they are, but there’s going to be some big names going over there.
“Look, I mean, from what I’ve heard the money’s very, very appealing. You’re only gonna have 12-14 events that are gonna have big purses.
“You’re not going to have to deal with missing a cut anymore; there’s only going to be 40 players. And 10 of the 14 events will be in the States. Signing bonuses, huge, huge purses – it’s going to be very appealing for some of these guys. Yeah, you’ll see some big names for sure.”
According to reports and rumors, an announcement is expected in the coming week of at least 20 PGA Tour superstars who will join the Super Golf League.
While Hickok believes PGA Tour players should be receiving a bigger slice of the Tour’s profits, he said those jumping to the SGL are “money hungry.”
“I think you have to be thankful and appreciative for the Tour,” said Hickok. “They’ve given us this platform to be able to chase our dreams and do what we love and make a great living doing it. To go after a few extra bucks, I think it might be a little greedy because you don’t know how long that [SGL] tour is going to be around; you don’t know if that money’s going to dry up; you don’t know what’s going to happen, and if you do leave you’ll be banned from the tour; the tour’s come out and said that.”
Hickok, 29, said he has heard the SGL will start in June. He is 63rd in the FedEx Cup standings and is in this week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The world’s top-ranked playeres and money earners have naturally pledged their allegiance to the PGA Tour, including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Collin Morikawa, who said he was “all in for the PGA Tour” during a Genesis Invitational pre-tournament press conference.
“My entire life I’ve thought about the PGA Tour,” said Morikawa, the second-ranked player in the world, and a Southern California native, ahead of his hometown event.
“I’ve thought about playing against Tiger, beating his records, whatever, something that might not even be breakable, but I’ve never had another thought of what’s out there, right? I’ve never thought about anything else, it’s always been the PGA Tour.
“Has [the rival league] opened up things for us as professional golfers, to open up things for the PGA Tour to look at what to do better? Absolutely.
“We’ve seen a lot of changes, some good, some bad, some that are still going to be amended I’m sure as time goes on. Right now, you look at the best players that I see and they’re all sticking with the PGA Tour, and that’s where I kind of stay and that’s where I belong. I’m very happy to be here.”
Morikawa’s comments come amid another round of rumors regarding the Greg Norman-led league, which will have no cuts and large guaranteed paydays.
Last month, the Saudi International, an Asian Tour event funded by the Norman-fronted LIV Golf Investments, lured a number of top players to the Middle East with lucrative appearance fees.
Phil Mickelson, who told Golf Digest that the PGA Tour’s “obnoxious greed” has him looking elsewhere, made the trip, along with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Shane Lowry, Tony Finau, Tommy Fleetwood, Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.
Talks of a challenger to the PGA Tour began at the Genesis Invitational two years ago, when officials with ties to the Saudi government held a clandestine meeting with agents to pitch their vision for a new league that would offer eye-popping sums.