After facing intense criticism this week, LIV Golf players in U.S. Open got to play golf, with one dangerous player in serious contention

·2 min read

BROOKLINE, Mass. – LIV Golf dominated the storylines earlier this week at the U.S. Open at The Country Club, the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed, Greg Norman-led rival league causing a stir. To the point that two-time U.S. champion and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka unloaded.

“I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff,” he said Tuesday. “Like I said, y’all are throwing a black cloud on the U.S. Open. I think that sucks. I actually do feel bad for (the USGA) for once because it’s a sh—y situation.”

Well, LIV Golf isn’t going away.

So, on that note, let’s keep the LIV Golf conversation going by looking at how the league’s players in the U.S. Open field fared in Thursday’s first round.

Yes, let’s talk golf.

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The USGA said there wasn’t enough time to reach a decision on whether or not to ban the players from the national championship, so 15 teed it up; commissioner Jay Monahan indefinitely suspended from the PGA Tour those players who played in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event last week in London and will continue to suspend any players who join the rival league.

And folks, there are some contenders – which would, of course, lead us back to stories such as those earlier in the week that touched on how the league will impact the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights atrocities.

Coming in as the low LIV guy was Dustin Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open champion who reportedly got $125 million to sign on with the new league. He shot 2-under-par 68, one shot better than James Piot, the 2021 U.S. Amateur champion.

Patrick Reed, Shaun Norris and Richard Bland each shot 70.

Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion who reportedly received north of $150 million to join LIV Golf, shot 71.

Sam Horsfield came home with a 73.

At 74 were Sergio Garcia and Talor Gooch.

At 75 was Kevin Na.

At 76 were Jinichiro Kozuma and Branden Grace, who finished third last week in London in the LIV Golf’s inaugural event.

The other scores were not pretty. Louis Oosthuizen shot 77 and Phil Mickelson, who reportedly got $200 million to sign on and went into seclusion because of derogatory comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi government, shot 78 on his 52nd birthday.

And Jed Morgan limped home to an 82.