Gooch: Majors should come with ‘asterisk’ without LIV

Gooch: Majors should come with ‘asterisk’ without LIV

Talor Gooch has doubled down on his criticism of the major championships, telling Australian Golf Digest that winning Grand Slam events should now come with an “asterisk” if the game’s biggest events don’t include players from LIV Golf.

“If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his [career] Grand Slam without some of the best players in the world, there’s just going to be an asterisk. It’s just the reality,” Gooch said. “I think everybody wins whenever the majors figure out a way to get the best players in the world there.”

Gooch has plummeted to 449th in the world ranking since joining LIV Golf and is currently not in the field for the Masters. Last year, the 32-year-old criticized the USGA for altering its qualification criteria to include players who “qualified and [were] eligible for the Tour Championship.” Gooch qualified for the 2022 season finale but couldn’t play after he was suspended for joining LIV Golf.

In the interview with Australian Golf Digest, Gooch applauds Augusta National’s decision to invite Joaquin Niemann to the year’s first major and renews his call for the majors to create carveouts for players who joined the breakaway circuit.

“I think the majors have kind of shown that they’re not getting on board with LIV,” Gooch said. “[Fellow LIV Golf member Niemann] went outside of LIV and played some great golf and they rewarded him for that. So hopefully the day will turn when the majors decide to start rewarding good play on LIV. Hopefully that’ll be sooner than later.”

Niemann has played in four events since November that award world ranking points, including the Australian Open which he won, and is currently 72nd in the world ranking. Gooch has not played in any events that award world ranking points since the Hong Kong Open in November and didn’t attempt to qualify for last year’s U.S. Open after the USGA altered its qualification format.

Currently there are 13 players from LIV Golf in the field at the Masters, compared to 18 players from the new league at Augusta National last year.