Brooks Koepka is set to make his LIV Golf Invitational Series debut Thursday at Pumpkin Ridge near Portland, Oregon. The No. 19-ranked golfer in the world is among the biggest names to leave the PGA Tour for the controversial Saudi-backed league, despite the backlash other players have received.

It was only a few months ago that Koepka said PGA Tour players who joined LIV Golf would be “selling out” for the big-money upstart tour. The 32-year-old told reporters Tuesday that his opinion has since changed in the wake of injuries, and the LIV Golf schedule greatly appeals to him.

“What I've had to go through the last two years on my knees, the pain, the rehab, all this stuff, you realize, you know, I need a little bit more time off," Koepka said. "I'll be the first one to say it: It's not been an easy last couple of years, and I think having a little more breaks, a little more time at home to make sure I'm 100 percent before I go play in an event and don't feel like I'm forced to play right away [is good]."

Since winning four majors from 2017 to 2019, Koepka has battled injuries to his knee, hip and wrist. Koepka partially tore his labrum during the 2020 PGA Championship, forcing him to take time off. The now-former PGA star underwent surgery on his right knee a month before the 2021 Masters, where he failed to make the cut.

There are only seven LIV Golf events on the remaining 2022 schedule. Koepka could’ve stayed on the PGA Tour and only played a limited number of events, but LIV Golf offers him the opportunity to make much more money on a limited schedule.

It’s unknown how much Koepka is being paid, but the top LIV Golf players have reportedly been given contracts worth at least $100 million. Each tournament consists of just 48 players vying for a share of $25 million in prize money.

Koepka joined LIV Golf very shortly after the U.S. Open, where he expressed frustration for being asked about the new tour. The PGA Tour continues to lose some of its best players, who are being criticized for helping Saudi Arabia in “sportswashing” after years of alleged human rights violations.

"You know, we've heard it," Koepka said, when asked about the backlash LIV Golf players have received. "I think everybody has. It's been brought up. But, look, like we said, our only job is to go play golf, and that's all we're trying to do. We're trying to grow the game, do all this other stuff. And we're trying the best we can."

Koepka will be suspended by the PGA Tour but will still be allowed to participate in major tournaments, at least for now.

Brooks Koepka won back-to-back PGA Championships in 2018 and 2019
Brooks Koepka won back-to-back PGA Championships in 2018 and 2019 GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Patrick Smith