[PHOTO: Fayez Nureldine]

The fate of the LIV Golf League in 2024 remains unclear as reports circulate that a deal between the PGA Tour, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (LIV Golf’s financial backer) and the DP World Tour could be delayed beyond the year’s end timeline spelled out in their framework agreement. Without a deal, the upstart circuit seemingly would continue in its current form, something its executives insist they’re preparing for.

What is looking clear, should the 2024 season play on, is the unlikelihood that Matthew Wolff will remain on the Smash GC team captained by Brooks Koepka.

On Friday, after the opening round of the LIV Golf Invitational event in Saudi Arabia, Koepka was asked a question about the “brotherhood” between the members of his team, which includes Wolff, Chase Koepka (Brooks’ younger brother), and Jason Kokrak. His response was telling.

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“There’s only three of us on our team,” said Koepka, who would go on to win the tournament in a playoff over Talor Gooch. “I mean, obviously my brother, I’m pretty tight with him, and then—I’ve enjoyed being around Jay for the past—I’ve been pretty close with Jay for maybe the past three years. I’ve enjoyed being around him. He’s a good player, super-talented. It’s been fun to be around him, and he’s played pretty solid this year. Yeah, I can’t say anything bad about him.”

But in saying nothing about Wolff, Koepka sort of said a lot.

In July, Koepka did specifically call out Wolff during an interview with Sports Illustrated.

“I mean, when you quit on your round, you give up and stuff like that, that’s not competing,” Koepka said. “I’m not a big fan of that. You don’t work hard. It’s very tough. It’s very tough to have even like a team dynamic when you’ve got one guy that won’t work, one guy is not going to give any effort, he’s going to quit on the course, break clubs, gets down, bad body language, it’s very tough. I’ve basically given up on him—a lot of talent, but I mean the talent’s wasted.”

Brooks Koepka says he’s done with LIV teammate Matthew Wolff: ‘A lot of talent, but I mean the talent’s wasted’

Wolff, who has been open about mental-health challenges he has faced since turning pro in 2019,  responded in a statement by saying Koepka’s comments were “beyond disappointing”: “When I chose to join his team in 2023, I did so with much optimism about my new home as part of Team Smash and equally as important the chance to be around and learn from a player of Brooks’s stature. Like everyone who has ever played the game at the highest level, I have had competitive moments in the past that I feel I have let myself down and even others in our new team environment. This has been quite difficult for me. My challenges on and off the golf course with my mental health has been well documented. I deal with those challenges every day.”

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Wolff is scheduled to compete for Smash GC at this week’s LIV Golf team championship event in Miami. But with his T-38 in Jeddah, he wrapped up the regular season in 27th place on the individual points list. Outside the top 24, it means he can be traded or released from his team during LIV’s offseason.