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talor gooch rory mcilroy

Talor Gooch: Rory McIlroy’s major grand slam would have an asterisk

Talor Gooch has sensationally claimed that an asterisk should appear above Rory McIlroy’s record if the Northern Irishman was to complete the career grand slam at the Masters…

 

LIV Golf’s Talor Gooch says there would be an asterisk over Rory McIlroy‘s career grand slam if he were to win the Masters.

The American believes the majors aren’t “getting on board” with LIV Golfers and providing more opportunities for them to compete in the sport’s four biggest championships.

The Saudi-funded tour that Gooch joined in 2022 doesn’t qualify for Official World Golf Ranking points which has seen his ranking and many others plummet, hampering their chances to compete against McIlroy for glory in events such as the one at Augusta National.

The 32-year-old, who has no major exemptions in 2024, says he wants majors to reward those showing form in the LIV League, one week after fellow LIV rebel Joaquin Niemann was given a special invitation to play at the Masters.

“It’s not surprising. I think the majors have kind of shown that they’re not getting on board with LIV. ‘Jaco’ (Niemann) went outside of LIV and played some great golf and they rewarded him for that,” he said to Australian Golf Digest.

“So hopefully the day will turn when the majors decide to start rewarding good play on LIV. Hopefully, that’ll be sooner than later.

“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.”

Gooch, who won three times in the LIV Golf League in 2023, played in three major championships last year and missed only the US Open.

It was then that his angst with the major organisations began to brew because it appeared he was in the field for America’s national championship, having qualified for the previous year’s Tour Championship on the PGA Tour.

However, the criteria stated he needed to be eligible for the season finale at East Lake too, but he lost that privilege by joining LIV Golf and subsequently being suspended by the US circuit.

Gooch won once on the PGA Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour before accepting a lucrative offer to join LIV Golf and, in 11 major starts, he has finished in the top 20 once.

talor gooch rory mcilroy

ALSO: Which LIV golfers have qualified for majors in 2024?

What have other players said about the LIV Golf world rankings fiasco?

LIV Golf’s Bryson DeChambeau also described his gripes with the OWGR when appearing on the Fairway to Heaven podcast. He said the league had fulfilled all criteria necessary to earn world ranking legitimacy, yet its application was rejected last October.

“They said you need certain requirements, we’ve fulfilled all of those requirements despite what everybody thinks. If you look at their handbook, we have fulfilled every single criteria, it’s been over two years now. What’s going on, guys?” he said.

“It’s a bit frustrating but (there’s) nothing we can do at this moment. We showcase ourselves in the major championships, there’s no way they can keep us out. We have to play well in the majors and once we do, they have no choice.

Currently, 13 of the 54 players on LIV Golf’s current roster have qualified for the first major of the year in Georgia with names including Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith and DeChambeau.

Also speaking to Australian Golf Digest, co-captain of LIV’s Majesticks GC Lee Westwood described the world rankings as “obsolete” and to be in “a real hole.”

The Englishman recalled his own rejection from the Senior Open last summer with NCG when he was told he couldn’t play at Royal Porthcawl because he had outstanding fines to pay to the DP World Tour for playing in conflicting LIV events.

Westwood sympathises with Gooch and believes the majors can’t use the OWGR to formulate their exemption categories.

“I think the Official World Golf Ranking has got itself into a real hole. It’s got itself to a point where it’s obsolete, really, if I’m being completely honest,” he said.

“It’s managed to be so stubborn that it no longer ranks all the best golfers in the world fairly. And it’s gone so far that I don’t see how it can come back from the hole that it’s in because you can’t backdate them.

“I don’t know where the OWGR goes from there. It’s not fit for purpose anymore. It’s there to rank the best golfers in the world and it doesn’t do that.

“And if you are a major championship and you’re looking for the best fields, you now can’t go off the OWGR to formulate your fields and use them for exemptions. You’ve got to find another way of doing it, otherwise you lose credibility as a major championship, don’t you?”

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

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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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