LIV Golf Adelaide champion Talor Gooch has revealed he isn’t exempt for the US Open because the USGA “changed a rule”.
He qualified for the first major of the year at Augusta National on two counts – by being in the top 50 players in the world as well as reaching last year’s Tour Championship.
The latter is consistent with the US Open’s qualification requirements too, but Gooch’s only current major exemption is for the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool.
“I was hopeful after Augusta came out and announced their field,” he said. “They announced that I was in the field via my world ranking but also via qualifying for the Tour Championship.
“Obviously, I was suspended from the [PGA] Tour and wasn’t able to play but my body of work for the season, up to being banned from the tour, was good enough to get me into the Tour Championship.
“I was glad that Augusta recognised that because, historically, up until this last year, if you make the Tour Championship, it gets you into the Masters, the US Open, and the British Open.
“The USGA decided to go in a different direction and retroactively changed that rule. Basically, the rule now within the USGA states that you have to qualify for the Tour Championship and also be eligible to play.
“That was obviously disappointing because that changed rule only affected one person, which was me.
“So that was frustrating and tough because with LIV still not being rewarded with world ranking points, I have only two options to qualify for the US Open – via my world ranking, which is going to be very challenging, or trying to obviously go through the qualifying route of sectional qualifying.
“I’m hopeful that my ranking stays high enough for the next month that I get in. Time will tell on that.”
The 31-year-old is correct. The relevant point on the 2023 US open criteria list reads: “Those players who qualified and were eligible for the season-ending 2022 Tour Championship.”
Gooch is currently ranked 59th in the world, having been ranked 35th before moving to LIV.
He will need to be in the top 60 players by May 22 to compete in the US Open or, as he states, he’ll need to go through the gruelling route of sectional qualifying.
Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann, and Cameron Smith are the only LIV golfers currently on the US Open’s field list.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has often said the majors should “stay Switzerland” and allow players from his roster to compete in the four biggest tournaments if they are eligible.
Virtually every LIV player has tumbled down the world rankings since signing with the Saudi-backed circuit, as LIV’s quest for OWGR status goes on.
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