Gooch & Puig Added To Valhalla PGA Championship Field

Talor Gooch and David Puig have deservedly lifted the number of LIV Golf stars who will tee-up in next week’s PGA Championship on the host Valhalla course in Louisville, Kentucky.

The PGA of America, as organisers of the year’s second major championship, will announce today (Tuesday) both Gooch and Puig have been afforded an invitation to compete in the event.

Gooch‘s invitation is significant because he rarely plays outside the LIV Golf schedule and his Valhalla invitation based purely on his performance in the Saudi-funded league.

The now 32-year Oklahoma-born Gooch has been one of the tour’s form players having won three times on LIV last year, including the historical event at Valderrama on Spain’s Costa-del-Sol that helped him first first the end-of-season points table.a

Kerry Haigh, Championship Director at the PGA of America, has said the last two years that the committee would consider players from tours all over the world.

“We look at all lists,” Haigh said in March. “If players are deserving, hopefully we would invite them.”

The PGA of America last month said Joaquin Niemann had received an invitation. Niemann also received a special invitation to the Masters – Augusta National cited his victory in the Australian Open without mentioning his LIV victory in February.

Gooch indicated last week while competing in Singapore he had no intention of joining more than 30 LIV players who plan on trying to qualify for the U.S. Open. LIV events do not offer world ranking points, and he has fallen to No. 644 in the world.

Gooch had only one PGA Tour title before bolting for rival LIV in 2022.

He has been among the more outspoken players in LIV, once comparing a team victory to the Ryder Cup. He said earlier this year that if Rory McIlroy were to win the Masters and complete the career Grand Slam, it would have to come with an asterisk because of all the LIV players not in the Masters field.

Gooch currently is No. 8 in the LIV Golf standings, with two top-5 finishes in eight tournaments this year in the league of 54 players competing over 54 holes.

He played in three majors last year, tying for 34th in the Masters and missing the 36-hole cut in the PGA Championship and the British Open.

Puig will also receive an invitation and with the Spaniard having been one of the star players on the Asian Tour having won twice along with posting three other finishes in the top 5 in the last year.

Other LIV players under consideration are Louis Oosthuizen and Dean Burmester, who each won twice in South Africa late last year in tournaments co-sanctioned by the European tour.

The PGA Championship is known for having the strongest fields among the four majors. It traditionally invites everyone from the top 100 in the world, though that isn’t part of the published criteria.

Among those in the top 100 this week is Patrick Reed, who has played in every major dating to the 2014 Masters.

+ With thanks to AP

Comments are closed.