On the most logical level, it is silly to feel sorry for Brooks Koepka.

Whatever happens to his career from this point on, he’ll be remembered by history as one of the great players of this era. Koepka will always be one of a few guys who stood up to a Sunday charge from Tiger Woods in a major. He’ll end up in the Hall of Fame, having won (at least) four majors and two Ryder Cups, and he has untold millions to his name. Koepka could spend the next 30 years relaxing by his pool, his wife and his labrador by his side, not giving a damn what might have been. His legacy is secure.

There was, however, a scene in Netflix’s “Full Swing” that made me feel a twinge of sympathy for Koepka for the first time in many years.

If you’ve watched the show, you probably know the scene I’m about to describe, because it is the most haunting thing I’ve seen on television since the pilot episode of The Leftovers. Koepka, rocking mindlessly on a swing that is hanging in their walk-in closet, is half-listening while his soon-to-be wife, Jena Sims, describes the different swimsuit cover-ups she’s going to bring with her on a trip she's planning, presumably her bachelorette. In a brilliant stroke of editing, we hear Koepka in a voiceover explaining to producers how, in the midst of his current slump, he cannot get away from thinking about his golf swing. He knows he should be listening to his future bride, despite what seems like would be the most vapid conversation imaginable, but he cannot unplug from the obsessions that his profession demands.

The sport has brought him fame, romance and riches, things he assumed would fill up his cup, but ultimately it’s still golf immortality that he’s chasing.

“I go back to the last major I won, and I’d pay back every dollar I’ve ever won in this game just to have that feeling for like another hour,” he says.

Is he being disingenuous as he makes these claims from his multi-million dollar home? I can’t decide. It’s important to remember what we saw on Netflix took place a year ago, before his decision to join LIV Golf. It’s possible he’s reconciled all of this angst with a significantly larger pile of money. But I also think, knowing the stone-cold killer Koepka was on the golf course in his prime, he might be trapped in a hell of his own making.

If the rumblings are true that Koepka thinks he may have made a mistake in joining LIV and he is sniffing around, at least asking questions as to whether there might be some kind of path back to the PGA Tour, then the news that spilled out on Wednesday about what the Tour will look like in 2024 might spur even deeper reflection.

What if — hypothetically speaking — LIV falls apart within the next 18 months? What if the PGA Tour has already won and players on either side are hesitant to publicly admit it?

I write that sentence fully aware it could turn into my own personal “Mission Accomplished” banner. The Saudis can, if they wish, continue to fund the money pit that is LIV Golf forever. It won’t put even the slightest dent in the Public Investment Fund, which may achieve a valuation of $1 trillion by 2025, according to most estimates. It is possible that everything we’ve seen thus far truly is the beta stage and part of a 10-year plan that will gradually gain momentum. It’s possible Greg Norman will have the last laugh.

It’s also possible that Norman and Phil Mickelson will do in business what they so frequently did in majors: Fall down a flight of stairs in slow motion after considerable bluster, usually right after they insisted this time would be different. (In Dustin Johnson’s case, the stairs actually took place prior to the major.)

What would it do to LIV’s credibility if a player of Koepka’s caliber reversed course and tried to extricate himself from the deal he signed? It might not be a death knell to the league — again, hubris and money could sustain LIV forever — but it would likely be the beginning of the end. And that end could be swift and sudden if the Saudis start to feel embarrassed.

There are already signs their interest is waning, despite Norman’s denials. Signing bonuses are drying up. Teams have been told they need to budget their expenses. New signees Brendan Steele and Dean Burmester aren’t bringing additional eyeballs to LIV outside their friends and families. The legal battle between the PGA Tour and LIV also recently saw the Saudis argue in court that Yasir Al-Rumayan, head of the Public Investment Fund, was a “sitting minister of government with sovereign immunity,” a revelation that could compel the English Premier League to re-examine the PIF’s ownership of Newcastle United. The PIF’s 2021 takeover of Newcastle was only approved by the league after it received “legally-binding assurances” that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would not have any control over the club. Endangering its ownership of Newcastle, which by any measure has been a successful public relations endeavor, while trying to defend the fledgling venture that is LIV Golf, would be an enormous own goal.

What compelling case could LIV make to future recruits (or potential sponsors) if a four-time major winner saw it from the inside and decided he was better off eating crow, returning a portion of the money, and throwing himself at the feet of Jay Monahan and Rory McIlroy, asking if there was still room in the castle on the other side of the moat? No one knows what that might look like at this point, whether players who defected for LIV, fully aware a lifetime ban was one of the potential consequences, would even have their pleas for some kind of amnesty entertained. It’s something Monahan should be asked about in his press conference next week ahead of The Players. If he wants to play offense against LIV, all he would need to do is imply he and the Players Council were open to those discussions. With the plan for 2024 rapidly shaping up, things are moving quickly. No one wants to be left without a (comfy) chair when the music stops.

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images

Koepka has always been, at least to me, a series of contradictions. He loved to pretend he didn’t work hard while privately outworking everyone behind the scenes. He insisted he didn’t care what others thought about him even though it was clear he sought out and read every slight. In “Full Swing” he can be seen sporting a Triggered sweatshirt, an obvious dig at others for being so sensitive, even though he engaged in a year-long feud with Bryson DeChambeau for the crime of suggesting he didn’t have abs in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. He belittled golf at every turn, insisting it wasn’t a real sport like basketball and baseball, while also wrapping his self-worth up in being the best golfer in the world. He wanted you to think he didn’t care about the regular season of the sport, then went on Netflix and, in a moment of commendable honesty, admitted that Scottie Scheffler cruising past him at the WM Phoenix Open filled him with existential dread.

There is no way to know what the future of Koepka’s career will look like, regardless of what he decides. It’s clear he joined LIV at least in part because he was privately worried his knee was ruined and his game would never reach the heights it once did. These days, his knee seems fine, and the meaningless competition he once told us he loathed looks as meaningless as ever. Perhaps it took being on the outside to crystallize that money wasn’t going to make him happy, not the way competition could. The Instagram Q&A he did at LIV Mayakoba looked like a hostage video, all the light gone out in his eyes.

I don’t think Dustin Johnson cares about what his legacy might be. He’s the one member of LIV whose approach you can’t help but admire (a little). He has not spent his time scrolling through Twitter, sending pouty DMs to former allies, or taken to Instagram Live to grumble and whine about hypocrisy. He has instead made it clear that there was a price for his services and it was met. Being liked by strangers, at this point, matters little. While everyone else complains, DJ just keeps cashing checks. Whatever contractual obligation he has to promote LIV, he continues to do the bare minimum. I suspect he’s using the Saudis as much as they’re attempting to use him.

I get a different read from Koepka. I think money is obviously important, but it’s also secondary. It’s the juice of competition that made him feel alive, and now that’s missing. The majors alone may not be enough to sustain it. There has to be a part of him that burns every time he sees Scheffler mentioned as the world’s best player because that was once Koepka. As lauded as Scheffler currently is, he still can’t match Koepka’s resume, but the world has already moved on.

Wednesday’s news also made it clear there is a lot of money to be made on the PGA Tour if you can claw your way into the upper tier. Is that something Koepka wants to chase?

LIV’s future may depend on the answer.

Kevin Van Valkenburg is the Editorial Director at No Laying Up. Email him at kvv@nolayingup.com.