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rory mcilroy talor gooch

Rory McIlroy’s advice for Talor Gooch: Be more like Joaquin Niemann!

Rory McIlroy gave Talor Gooch the benefit of the doubt when speaking for the first time since the American’s comments about the infamous asterisk over his grand slam…

 

Rory McIlroy was willing to forgive Talor Gooch for his explosive comments about the LIV-shaped cloud over his bid to complete the major grand slam.

In part three of this verbal saga, McIlroy said he felt Gooch was led to say an asterisk should be applied if the Northern Irishman won the Masters, due to LIV Golf players being absent from the field whom Gooch believes should be eligible.

By the time McIlroy could react when speaking at the Cognizant Classic, Gooch had already doubled down on his view, saying a major win with what he sees as an insufficient representation of LIV players in the Masters field would be “noteworthy.”

“The Masters is an invitational and they’ll invite whoever they think warrants an invite and I think to be fair to Talor, if you read the entire question and then the answer, it’s not as if he just came out with that,” McIlroy said on Wednesday.

“I feel like whoever did the interview led him down that path to say that, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt there a little bit. He basically agreed with what the interviewer asked.”

One of Gooch’s colleagues on the Saudi-funded tour, Joaquin Niemann, has played numerous events on the DP World Tour and the Asian Tour in his quest for major starts in 2024.

The LIV Golf League, born in 2022 and funded by the Public Investment Fund, doesn’t qualify for world ranking points so access to major championships for players like Gooch and Niemann is largely cut off.

The Chilean earned a special invitation to the Masters for his efforts, including a win at the ISPS Handa Australain Open, but McIlroy doesn’t believe Gooch has shown the same commitment.

“But at the same time, Joaquin Niemann got an invite and I played with Joaquin in Dubai a few weeks ago and he went down to Australia and won, he was in Oman last week,” he added.

“He’s been chasing his tail around the world to try to either play his way into Augusta or show enough form to warrant an invite and I don’t know if the same can be said for Talor.”

rory mcilroy talor gooch

ALSO: What is in Rory McIlroy’s golf bag?

Rory McIlroy-Talor Gooch saga: What was actually said in the first place?

In the initial interview with Australian Golf Digest, Gooch said this:

“If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his grand slam (a win at all four majors) without some of the best players in the world, there’s just going to be an asterisk.

“It’s just the reality. I think everybody wins whenever the majors figure out a way to get the best players in the world there.”

There are currently 13 LIV Golf players in the field for the first major of the year at the Masters. Gooch played down Magnolia Lane in 2023 but, this year, he isn’t exempt and hasn’t received an invitation.

The 32-year-old American somewhat came under fire from golf fans on social media and since making these comments, he appeared on the Flushing It Golf podcast to explain his point further:

“Winning a major in spite of the field probably not being what it was intended to be based on the qualifications that were set in place a while back, winning a major is still an incredible feat and it’s not taking away the accomplishment that is, but I think what more so I meant was – it’s going to go down in history whenever all of this gets figured out,” Gooch said.

“10 or 20 years down the road, we’re going to look back on this time and realise there was instability in the game at the professional level.

“When you look at the names that I think most people at our level believe are some of the best in the world and they’re not in that field, it’s going to be noteworthy, and again, it doesn’t take away from the accomplishment, but it is noteworthy.”

Since the LIV League’s rejection from the Official World Golf Ranking board in October, there has been a loud clamour for the majors, being the Masters, the US Open, the PGA Championship, and The Open, to allow an allocation of spots for players from LIV CEO Greg Norman‘s roster.

Both Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson have promoted this idea when speaking to NCG earlier this year.

NOW READ: Bubba Watson’s strategy for LIV players to make the majors!

NOW READ: Henrik Stenson uses Talor Gooch as example for LIV players to earn major spots

Could we finally see a Rory McIlroy Masters win in 2024, even if it has an asterisk? Tell us on X/Twitter!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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