Tell us how you really feel, Jason Kokrak.
The three-time PGA Tour winner has opened up on all things Saudi Golf League, revealing he'd be interested in jumping ship should a lucrative-enough deal land on his table, and confirming rumours that a number of players are already in talks to join the F1-style circuit.
Kokrak, 35, was speaking on the 5 clubs podcast and pulled no punches when quizzed by host Gary Williams.
“I’ve had long conversations with a couple of the elite players on the PGA Tour," Kokrak said. "I haven’t signed any $20 million contracts or any elevated contracts that would make me want to stay. I want to make as much money as I can in as little time.
“There’s been no official contract that’s come my way. I’ve heard rumours of guys signing already, guys in extended talks with the Saudis. I’m an independent contractor and I’m trying to take advantage.
“Competition is good. The Saudi Golf League or the Premier Golf League or whatever you want to call it has gained traction and created competition for the PGA Tour, which has in-turn increased the purses.”
Indeed, in response to the threat, the PGA Tour not only announced record prize purses for this season, but also launched the Player Impact Program, a $40m fund that was split between the 10 players who drove the most engagement among fans and sponsors.
While it’s highly unlikely Kokrak received a piece of that pie, he did make over $5m last season, so he’s hardly slumming it. Despite that, he wants more, insisting players aren’t paid what they deserve and saying the chance to make a quick fortune beats the yearly grind of the PGA Tour.
He added: “I’m curious to see if the PGA Tour would’ve ever increased any of that without this competition. It’s scary to see how much money is out there, how much money was held back from the players, from the people who are making the money for the tour.
“It’s an interesting concept. I’m enjoying the PGA Tour, but if somebody’s going to pay me enough to retire in the next four years... it’s more money than I could possibly make winning multiple times a year on the PGA Tour and being told what to do.
“I don’t have any intention of signing anything as of right now but cash is king and if somebody pays me enough money that my kids’ kids are going to have a good head start on life then I’m going to have to take full advantage.
“Playing the PGA Tour is unbelievable, but it is a grind. You want to play the PGA Tour for more of a legacy thing or whatever, some people have told me, but to play the Saudi Golf League - to play, say, 14 events - you’re going to get a big bonus at the beginning of the year and you’re going to play for $20m or whatever it is.
“The amount of money that’s going to be available playing against a 64-man field as opposed to 128 to 132 to 156-man fields, you’re going to make a lot more money in a lot less of a time frame.
“As I said, I’m going to try make as much money as I can in as little amount of time, so if the money’s right I would love to go play that tour and play against some of the guys that are going to go out over there.”
Wherever you stand on the morality of Kokrak’s viewpoint, at least he’s honest. By our reckoning, he is the first player to express such explicit interest in the new “concept”.
Next, as a Saudi Golf ambassador, the World No. 22 was asked where he stands on the country's human rights record. In response, he confirmed he isn't a member of the government and doesn't live in The Kingdom, all the while leaning heavily on a tired old theme to wash away any notion that he might be part of a bigger problem.
“Yeah I see and I read people question me or question what I’m doing based upon the Saudi government. Right now I’m a representative of Golf Saudi, not the league. They are trying to grow the game of golf and that’s what I’m representing is growing the game of golf.
“I’m not representing the Saudi government, I’m not a member of the government, I don’t live there. It’s just something that they pay me to represent a functional level of growing this game at a global level as opposed to bringing in the government or anything like that.
“I’m trying to grow this game and be a representative of the game of golf at the highest level and I want to grow the game not just here in the United States but around the globe and they’re taking that step outside the box into trying to grow the game.
“They have the financial background to do this and to grow the game in a way that we haven’t seen before outside of the PGA Tour.”
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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