LIV Golf's Talor Gooch Will Not Try to Qualify for the U.S. Open

A number of players from the Saudi-backed league will attempt to play their way into the U.S. Open but not LIV's top player from 2023.
Apr 7, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Talor Gooch of Smash GC walks off of the seventh green during the
Apr 7, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Talor Gooch of Smash GC walks off of the seventh green during the / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Several LIV Golf League players will attempt to make the U.S. Open field via final qualifying next month.

Talor Gooch won’t be one of them.

The top player on LIV Golf in 2023 who won three times and captured the season-long points race said during a news conference in Singapore on Thursday that he would not be taking part.

He did not give a reason.

Gooch appeared alongside Smash GC teammates Brooks Koepka, Graeme McDowell and Jason Kokrak, and they were all asked if they would attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open, which will conduct 36-hole qualifiers around the country on May 3.

Both McDowell and Kokrak said they would not only attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open, but for the British Open as well—which will have final qualifying two weeks prior to the championship.

A total of 35 players from LIV are scheduled to play in final qualifying. Koepka, a two-time major winner and the reigning PGA champion, is exempt.

Gooch simply said: “I’m not.”  And offered no explanation.

The one-time PGA Tour winner has been outspoken about not being included in the major championships.

Last year, he earned his way into the Masters and the British Open having finished in the top 30 in the 2022 PGA Tour FedEx Cup standings. But Gooch was miffed that the U.S. Open changed its rules to state that the same exemption would only go to a player “eligible” for the season-ending Tour Championship. Having gone to LIV Golf, Gooch was not eligible.

Earlier this year, Gooch made headlines when he said: “If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his (career) Grand Slam without some of the best players in the world, there is just going to be an asterisk. It’s just the reality.”

LIV Golf does not receive Official World Golf Ranking points for its events and many of its players have plummeted in the rankings while not earning points. Gooch, who was top 50 in the world around this time last year, has sunk to 624th in the OWGR. He is ranked 41st by Data Golf, which includes LIV tournaments.

He tied for 34th at the Masters last year and then missed the cut at the PGA Championship. He did not attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open and then missed the cut at The Open.

Gooch has no victories so far this year with LIV Golf but does have three top 10s. He is the defending champion of this week’s event in Singapore.

Among the LIV golfers scheduled to compete in final qualifying for the U.S. Open are Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson.



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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.