Six LIV Golf stars missing from PGA Championship as world ranking woes go on

While sixteen members of LIV Golf will be competing in this week’s PGA Championship, a number of well-known players from the breakaway circuit will be following the big event from home.

The PGA Championship, which is being held this week at Valhalla Golf Club, is the second major of the season. However, it won’t feature many of the LIV Golf setup’s stars.

There isn’t much of a breakaway league presence at the four major championships this year; the Saudi-backed series still holds events without offering world ranking points. However, more LIV members than initially anticipated will be present at this week’s event in Kentucky.

The PGA of America announced last week that seven breakaway circuit competitors had been given special invitations to compete at Valhalla after they were unable to qualify for the championship through the standard exemption categories.

Even though Talor Gooch and Patrick Reed, for example, received significant lifelines, several other prominent LIV stars will not be included. Here’s a look at a group of players from the breakaway league who were not offered a spot, ranging from major champions to Ryder Cup veterans.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia will not play in the PGA Championship in 2024 for the second year in a row, despite participating in 24 of them between 1999 and 2022. After winning his one and only major championship at the Masters in 2017, Garcia was granted permission to play in the U.S. PGA for the next five years.

After that, in 2022, this exemption expired, and he moved to LIV Golf, where he has since struggled to gain entry because of a decline in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). In 1999, while just eighteen years old, Garcia made his PGA Championship debut, notoriously finishing second to Tiger Woods.

Louis Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen is another notable winner not in the field this week. In recent months, the former Open champion has regained his form and shown promise on the DP World, Sunshine, Asian, and LIV Tours. Oosthuizen was unexpectedly left off of the list, despite being strongly predicted to be one of the special invitees this season. The South African reportedly declined the invitation because of “personal circumstances,” according to later reports.

Mito Pereira

Similar to Garcia, Mito Pereira also became well-known in the PGA Championship, but he will not be present for the 2024 tournament. Two years ago, Pereira came dangerously close to making golf history when he was just one hole away from winning the 2022 U.S. PGA Championship.

Standing at the 72nd hole at Southern Hills, the Chilean had a one-shot lead when he teed off, but he would later make a double bogey and find the water hazard, which gave Justin Thomas a chance to come back and win the championship in a playoff. He did not make it to Valhalla, so this time he will not have the opportunity to make up for his previous near-miss.

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter, the European Ryder Cup hero, spent most of his playing career as a mainstay in major fields, but that ended with his move to LIV Golf. Poulter has only participated in one major championship since signing a deal with Greg Norman and company: the 2022 Open.

Since then, the Englishman has missed all five of the major events. On Thursday, when play begins in Kentucky, he will miss even more.

Lee Westwood, the co-captain of the Majesticks and a compatriot of Poulter’s, will also be missing from Valhalla later this week. After several near-misses, Westwood established himself as one of the greatest players to never win a major championship throughout his career.

The LIV star has missed the previous five flagship events in addition to this week, so her chances of ever winning on a major stage are decreasing as everything moves toward majors.

Bubba Watson

Having missed out on a spot at the second major of the 2024 season, Bubba Watson will not have the opportunity to add to his collection of major championships at Valhalla. Watson made an appearance at the Masters last month after returning to Augusta National as a two-time green jacket winner. However, because he is currently ranked 2,701st in the world, he will not be able to compete in back-to-back majors.

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