Joaquin Niemann wants to play in the majors in 2024 and his pursuit of golf’s promised land starts at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic…
Joaquin Niemann has the Masters on his mind.
The Chilean earned a spot at this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic by winning the ISPS Handa Australian Open in December, another tournament he entered to search for much-needed world ranking points.
LIV Golf’s young star believes what the Official World Golf Rankings currently show is “unfair,” as the Saudi league’s players continue to tumble down the list and miss out on majors.
As The Open is the only major he’s currently qualified for, Niemann says the “system is not working well” and he is determined to use the first Rolex Series event of 2024 to edge nearer the top 50.
“It is pretty unfair right now what the world rankings show,” the World No. 87 told Josh Lees of the Mirror Sport.
“It says the top 100 players in the world right now, but I don’t think this is the right ranking – I am going to Dubai for the DP World (Tour) just because of (ranking) points, nothing else and to try and get into the Masters.
“I don’t really need to play other tours, the only reason is because of the majors.
“This is not me trying to get other players’ places because I am there, it is because the system is not working well. I want to be at the majors and I think the easiest path is to go and play Dubai.
“I don’t know if it is going to create drama or they are not going to like me playing on that tour, so I am going to go there, try to play well, get my points and get out of there.
“At the majors, it is all about the best players in the world, and I think it is their job to find a way to have the best players there.
“Right now it is all about the best players and right now I think I am one of those, I have got to be in those majors.
“Obviously, I took the decision to come to LIV and I knew it was going to be hard to get into the majors because of it, but I think now they have to find a way to get us in, that is why I am trying to play more tournaments than just LIV Golf.”
Niemann went from 82nd to 59th in the world rankings after winning for the first time on the DP World Tour in Sydney, but he has since fallen to 70th.
LIV had its OWGR application rejected back in October because of its “mostly-closed style fashion” and the presence of the team event running parallel to the weekly individual event, among other reasons.
Last year, the Masters awarded invitations to players ranked in the top 50 during the week before the tournament and the US Open gave spots to those in the top 60 roughly a month before the tournament.
The Open Championship is the only major so far in 2024 to publish details of how to qualify.
Joaquin Niemann: LIV Golf star becomes latest voice in major debate
LIV Golf players missing out on majors is one of the many avenues of professional golf’s map that needs visiting.
A handful of Greg Norman’s roster are qualified as past champions, but Niemann is staring at the prospect of missing out on playing all four of golf’s premier tournaments in the same year for the first time in four years.
The 25-year-old, and two-time PGA Tour winner, has played in 14 consecutive majors since the 2020 PGA Championship, but could LIV be given its own exemption category soon?
One player who doesn’t have to worry about Augusta invites is Bubba Watson, but the two-time Masters champion explained how the rebel league could be granted a pathway to all of the majors:
“It should be realistic,” Watson said to the NCG Golf Podcast.
“When you think about the tours, you have the Australian Tour, you have the Asian Tour, now the DP World Tour and you have the PGA Tour.
“If you want to say the PGA Tour is the biggest tour, then give them the most spots off their money list. Then next would be the DP World Tour.
“So just because of the money and the world rankings, because guys want to live in the US and don’t want to travel to Europe, that shouldn’t hinder – just give them less spots in the majors.
“With us only having 48 players, then give us like 10 spots.”
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