July 23, 2024

Talor Gooch, one of the many LIV stars not in the field, raised eyebrows when he said that a victory for Rory McIlroy at this year’s Masters would come with a “asterisk.”

Talor Gooch questioned the integrity of the field at Augusta National this year, questioning the presence of several LIV Golf stars. Jon Rahm feels Gooch should be in the field for this year’s Masters.

Last season, Gooch was the one to take advantage of the LIV setup, winning three times in a row to emerge as the league’s unexpected champion. The American’s strong play did not allow him to move up in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) because LIV is still waiting to be recognized by the OWGR.

Gooch, who is currently ranked 476th in the world, has fallen in the rankings as a result, guaranteeing he will miss all four of this year’s major championships, including the Masters.

However, after Joaquin Niemann received an invitation from Augusta officials, the reigning champion Rahm feels his fellow LIV star should be allowed to compete. Prior to LIV Hong Kong this season, Rahm remarked, “I think there’s one player that played fantastic all last season that’s been a little bit left out.”

“While I’m not saying that they all have to, I believe Talor Gooch ought to be given consideration for a potential invitation to those majors. If that doesn’t demonstrate good golf and being deserving of a major league spot, I don’t know what does. He was the best player in this field the previous year.

Last month, Gooch voiced his opinion on the subject, but he drew criticism for casting doubt on the event’s validity. Specifically, he stated that given the current status of the world rankings, a victory for Rory McIlroy—who is aiming to complete the career Grand Slam in Georgia next month—would come with a “asterisk.”

“There’s just going to be an asterisk if Rory Mcllroy goes and completes his Grand Slam without some of the best players in the world,” Gooch stated to Australian Golf Digest. That’s just how things are. Everybody benefits, in my opinion, whenever the majors manage to bring the greatest players in the world to town.

When questioned about Gooch’s remarks prior to this past week’s Cognizant Classic in Palm Beach, Florida, McIlroy expressed sympathy for the American but also brought attention to the fact that, in contrast to Niemann, who was recently invited and is also a member of LIV Golf, Gooch had made no effort to accrue ranking points elsewhere.

“The Masters is an invitational, and they will extend an invitation to anyone they deem worthy of it,” he declared. To be fair to Talor, I believe that if you read the question and the response in their entirety, it shows that he didn’t just say that. I’m somewhat giving him the benefit of the doubt because I believe that whoever conducted the interview sort of guided him in that direction to say that. All he did was agree to the interviewer’s questions.

“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’s been chasing his tail around the world to 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.”

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