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The off-season is heating up on LIV Golf and a major champion has made a move.
A report from the Telegraph had suggested that Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC was on the verge of announcing a new addition.
The five-time major champ needed a new player after his brother Chase was relegated from the Saudi-backed league at the end of last season.
And Koepka’s team has now announced he will be teaming up with a fellow major winner in Graeme McDowell, as the Northern Irishman has been bailed out.
The 2010 U.S. Open winner was a member of Cleeks GC but has been handed a lifeline after his contract expired with Martin Kaymer’s side.
McDowell looked certain to be released from the circuit after finishing outside of the top 24 last season.
He said: “It would have been disappointing if this was the end of my play on the LIV tour.
“Two seasons, or 18 months, it didn’t really feel like a long time, but obviously very excited to be connecting with a team like Smash and playing alongside a guy like Brooks, one of the best players in the world right now.”
The 44-year-old finished 42nd in the standings and captain Kaymer expressed his desire to replace his Ryder Cup teammate for the new campaign.
McDowell, who has earned £4 million in 22 events, only negotiated a two-year deal when he signed to LIV Golf for its inaugural season 18 months ago.
However, the Portrush man will now team up with Koepka, Jason Kokrak and Matthew Wolff.
Meanwhile, according to the Telegraph, an insider said: “I’m not sure McDowell can believe his luck.
“Obviously, all was not rosy on the Cleeks and with G-Mac and Kaymer. He thought he was out of LIV and would have to be participating on the Asian Tour next year.
“Playing alongside Koepka – probably the best player on LIV – is a massive result for him.”
Kaymer has also lost Bernd Wiesberger from his side after the Austrian decided to return to the DP World Tour last week.
It was understood that LIV paid his £1.5 million fine to re-apply for membership, while the terms of McDowell’s contract meant he would’ve had to pay the penalty himself.
Before competing in the Greg Norman-fronted tour, McDowell was a regular in press conferences.
In a recent interview with The Thing about Golf podcast, he said: “I was not a paid ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s human rights. I was a paid ambassador for a golf tour.
“You start answering questions that can’t be answered. I regret those answers, not that they were necessarily wrong; that was what we had been prepped to say by this golf tour that’s paying me.
“Of course, it was about the money. It didn’t need to be said. Of course, that’s what I was there for – it was a business decision.”
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