LIV Golf star and ‘enemy’ of PGA Tour taken aback by brave invite to major

LIV Golf star and ‘enemy’ of PGA Tour taken aback by brave invite to major

LIV Golf star Talor Gooch says it was ‘brave’ of the PGA America to extend a special invitation to the PGA Championship after his polarising comments over the past two years

Outspoken LIV Golf star Talor Gooch has hailed the PGA of America for extending an invite for him to play in the PGA Championship at Valhalla this week, despite being an “enemy” of the golf establishment.

The 32-year-old became a founding member of the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway tour in 2022 and has enjoyed significant success, winning three times in 2023 en route to finishing atop the season standings. But he ruffled plenty of feathers along the way with a series of comments about the state of professional golf.

As a LIV player without a major championship victory, Gooch had found himself locked out of the four biggest events of the year as his place in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) plummeted. LIV events are not sanctioned by the OWGR, much to the chagrin of Gooch and his counterparts on the breakaway tour.

And with no points accrued this year, Gooch has fallen to 668th in the rankings – ruling him out of the majors without a special invitation or playing in qualifying tournaments, which are typically reserved for aspiring professionals. Gooch said he has no plans to take part in qualifiers for

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Ahead of The Masters last month, Gooch riled players and fans alike with his claim that if Rory McIlroy won the tournament to complete his career grand slam, it would come with an “asterisk” due to the absence of some LIV players. Gooch – who is yet to play in the Ryder Cup – also once said there is not “a lot of difference” between LIV events and the iconic team tournament.

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Gooch admits he was not expecting an invite from the PGA of America to tee it up in Kentucky this week given the polarising comments he has made over the past couple of years. But he is grateful and hopes it is a sign that the majors are going to accommodate LIV players in the future, regardless of whether a merger deal with the PGA Tour is completed.

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