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talor gooch

‘It’s noteworthy’: Talor Gooch defends controversial Rory McIlroy asterisk claim

After receiving considerable heat for his comments about Rory McIlroy, Talor Gooch added fuel to the flames when speaking on the Flushing It Golf podcast…

 

Talor Gooch has defended his controversial comments about Rory McIlroy completing his career grand slam at the Masters.

LIV Golf’s 2023 champion told Australian Golf Digest that an asterisk would appear above a McIlroy victory at Augusta National because the field is missing LIV players he believes should be eligible.

Speaking on the Flushing It Golf podcast, Gooch asserted that winning a major in this period would be “noteworthy” due to LIV absentees when looking back in decades to come.

Gooch, who isn’t currently eligible for any majors in 2024, believes the quality of the 54-man LIV Golf fields two years on from its inception warrants greater recognition in this period of “instability.”

“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.

“If you think about it furthermore, with three of the new additions to LIV this year, of the 12 guys (13 LIV players who have qualified for the Masters), if it wasn’t for the off-season signings, there would be nine guys that would be playing in the field, with adding Adrian (Meronk) and (Jon) Rahm and Tyrrell (Hatton).

“I think the talk of LIV and the depth of the field and the quality of golf, it’s much different now than it was two years ago and it’s just going to continue to improve, and that was partly to my point.”

The World No.449’s voice is not the first to call for the major organisations, being the Masters, the US Open, the PGA Championship and The Open, to allow more leeway for players from the Saudi-funded league to compete.

After the league’s application to earn Official World Golf Ranking points was rejected in October, a big obstacle in helping LIV players to earn points and subsequent major berths, it seems the players have turned their attention to specifically requesting places in the majors instead.

Bubba Watson described his idea of giving the LIV League 10 spots for each of golf’s four showpiece events when speaking on the NCG Golf Podcast, while former Open champion Henrik Stenson echoed these thoughts by saying “Around five players from LIV that’s not already exempt could get a start at the majors.”

talor gooch rory mcilroy

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Talor Gooch: ‘What are the majors if they’re not beating everyone who could potentially win?’

The league, run by commissioner Greg Norman and bankrolled by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, has acquired a number of experienced players such as Watson and Stenson, but also several young prospects such as David Puig and Caleb Surratt.

Joaquin Niemann was also full of youthful exuberance when leaving the PGA Tour behind to join LIV and his pursuit of major spots by winning the ISPS Handa Australian Open helped him to earn a special invitation for the Masters in April.

Gooch, who won once on the PGA Tour and now three times in the LIV Golf League, earmarks these players as further reason to allow a path from the LIV Golf League to the majors, as there is “too much firepower” to ignore.

“LIV is going to continue to bring on new young talent and I know that’s a focus and they’re wanting to get the young superstars to come to play for LIV and the Davids (Puig), the (Caleb) Surratts,” Gooch added.

“Those kids are superstars and I think about them in this in a year or two years from now, if the system doesn’t change and there is no path from LIV to the majors directly through LIV without having to do what Joaco (Niemann) did, which by the way was amazing what he did – he goes and wins the Aussie Open and almost wins in Dubai.

“There’s too much firepower on LIV for there not to be a path to the majors through LIV as it currently sits. And that’s from a selfish perspective, I hope for that to be the case, but furthermore, for the fans the majors themselves and what their future looks like, for professional golfers.

“I think everyone can see now LIV is not going anywhere and it’s not slowing down and with that being said, everyone has to figure out how to come together on this.

“That’s what I said in that article as well, everyone wins whenever we figure out a way to connect LIV with the major championship world.

“I just keep thinking about David and Surratt, they’re such studs and imagine them coming top 10 this year in the LIV season standings, beating Cam Smith or Joaco or Brooks (Koepka) or Bryson (DeChambeau), beating those guys and you have these 19/20-year-old kids that are absolute superstars that don’t get into three majors.

“If I’m a fan, I want to see what those dudes go against the rest and the best in the world, I just think that’s a huge piece of this is – what does the future look like for the path for these kids coming up through LIV?”

“There’s nobody that benefits from continuing to shut out LIV from getting a path to the majors. People are going to say, ‘Well you guys can go qualify for The Open Championship and the US Open’, you can go do what Joaco did and try to play your way in and get world ranking points elsewhere, but that is just bottlenecking the system so much, and it’s just not what is best for everyone.

“One of the things that have been talked about a bunch is a lot of guys on the PGA Tour have continued to say, ‘We want to play against the best players in the world’.

“That’s not just on the PGA Tour, you want to play against the best and beat the best in the majors, what are the majors if they’re not beating everyone who could potentially win this?”

NOW READ: Anthony Kim joins LIV Golf after 12-year absence from professional game

NOW READ: Jon Rahm: Winning the Masters made it easier to join LIV Golf

The Talor Gooch majors stance remains unchanged! What do you say to these Talor Gooch LIV Golf comments? 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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