LIV: Golf stars show frustrated Talor Gooch how it’s done in pursuit of major places

LIV Golf stars show frustrated Talor Gooch how it’s done in pursuit of major places

Talor Gooch has spoken out on his absence from this year’s major championships despite being crowned LIV Golf champion, but could learn a thing or two from some of his fellow breakaway players

It’s out of my control but hopefully I’ve done everything I can to prove that I’m one of the best players in the world and that’s enough for them to say, you need to be in our tournaments.”

Those were the words of LIV Golf champion Talor Gooch last October over his absence from this year’s four major championships

To some extent Gooch does have a point. The saga surrounding LIV’s hunt for world ranking accreditation – which they have recently given up on – is out of the hands of the players, with that decision to be made between the powers that be on both sides. Some of his fellow members in Joaquin Niemann and David Puig however have shown major opportunities are there if you are willing to go out and get them.

Granted, Gooch – who claimed a win for Rory McIlroy at this year’s Masters would come with an ‘asterisk’ due to lack of LIV representation – was undoubtedly one of the top performers in the world in 2023, winning three times on the Saudi-backed circuit, before being crowned the league’s season-long individual champion.

Spanish star Puig is the perfect example of this, having played his way into this year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon, whilst also being on the cusp of banking a PGA Championship spot at Valhalla. With the 22-year-old a newbie in professional golf, he was of course without any major exemptions and forced to bank his place the hard way, but boy has he earned it.

Since turning pro at the end of 2022, Puig has played in 12 events on the Asian Tour alongside his LIV duties and has impressed. On the back of his debut win at the International Series Singapore last October, he landed win No. 2 at the Malaysian Open last month to bank himself a precious spot at Royal Troon in July.

Talor Gooch has vented his frustrations with the majors

Elsewhere, he has recorded three top-20s, and four top-10’s – including a runner-up finish in Macau last week – to climb within touching distance of the top-100, with the PGA Championship and Olympic Games edging closer. In comparison Gooch has played in just three OWGR-recognised events away from LIV, withdrawing from one, the DP World Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Yes, talent-wise Gooch is definitely worthy of a place at the big events, but it is hard to really sympathise having failed to take advantage of the opportunities that are there. Arguably the best example is Torque GC captain Niemann, whose willingness to play elsewhere has earned a special exemption invite from Augusta National chiefs

Joaquin Niemann has played his way into three of the four majors

In total he has teed it up four world ranking events over the past four months, finishing fifth, first, tied-fourth and third. And whilst this did not earn him enough ranking points to break in the top-50, his efforts and form both on and off the LIV circuit earned him an invite to both the Masters and PGA Championship, to go along with his Open spot.

Now there is nothing to say that Gooch has to go out and play other tours. Playing a lesser schedule was no doubt a pull for the American when signing on the dotted line with Greg Norman, and he more than likely feels he has done more than enough on the golf course to warrant a major spot without playing elsewhere.

Sadly however the politics and current climate of the sport mean this is in fact not enough, and if Gooch really did want his Augusta, Valhalla, Pinehurst and Royal Troon spots, Puig and Niemann have more than shown that the opportunities were there


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