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‘I’m Surprised That PGA Gave Him A Spot’: Johnson Wagner Expresses Amazement With Talor Gooch Competing In The PGA Championship

Alisha Kotadia

Talor Gooch

LIV Golfers are gearing up for another major tournament of the season, the PGA Championship, scheduled to kick off on May 16. The field at the Valhalla Golf Course this year will include sixteen LIV players representing their league. Moreover, seven of these players have received special invitations to compete in the major, including Talor Gooch.

Usually, the golfer does not play outside of the Saudi-backed schedule. Surprisingly, he was fortunate enough to get a spot in the second major, thanks to his excellent form at the LIV season last year. And it seems like people were not happy with his invitation.

Recently, in a conversation with the Golf Channel, three-time PGA Tour Champion Johnson Wagner expressed his astonishment after seeing Gooch get a ticket to compete in the upcoming major. He knows that the LIV golfer is an excellent player and despite his disbelief after learning about the LIV golfer’s invitation, he pointed out that the golfer probably deserved it. 

“Talor played wonderful golf. He said he’s not going to play sectional qualifying this year. I’m surprised the PGA gave him a spot, but he’s probably deserving. I’m sure he’s playing well. we’ll see how it goes next week for him.”

Wagner further added that while Joaquin Niemann put in efforts to get a chance to play in the upcoming major, Talor Gooch made none. He didn’t go play sectional qualifying at the US Open last year. He said he won’t be competing in it this year either. So, it was surprising for Wagner that the PGA Tour gave him an invitation to the PGA Championship.

But he also reiterated that Gooch deserved to be a part of the upcoming major considering since he has fared quite decently in the 2023 season.

How Have Joaquin Niemann and Talor Gooch fared recently?

Joaquin Niemann had a stunning finish at the Australian Open in December 2023. He also finished fifth in the Australian PGA and was consistently trying to improve his rankings by playing outside of LIV. He was the only player from the LIV league to receive an invitation to the Masters this year.

The Chilean professional golfer had rounds of 70-78-71-73 to position himself on the T22 spot on the Masters leaderboard. He was 4 over par by the end of the tournament and received $175,500 in prize money for his performance.

Niemann has also triumphed twice in LIV Golf events this season. He first emerged victorious at the LIV Invitational Mayakoba and then grabbed a win at the LIV Invitational Jeddah.

Meanwhile, Talor Gooch joined the breakaway league in 2022 but was only able to clinch his first victory in 2023 at the Adelaide tournament in Australia. Later, he triumphed twice in the same year at the LIV Golf Singapore and LIV Golf Andalucia.

Additionally, the 32-year-old golfer claimed the 2023 LIV League individual title while also receiving a $18 million bonus prize. Considering this success, Gooch secured a special invitation to the second men’s major this year.

Now it would be intriguing to see how these Saudi-backed golfers will perform in the tournament and whether any of them can become a winner of the major, this season.

About the author

Alisha Kotadia

Alisha Kotadia


Alisha Kotadia is a golf journalist at The SportsRush. She hold a Bachelor's degree in Mass Media. She has been passionate about the sport for a year now, drawing inspiration from none other than the golf legend, Tiger Woods. Before joining the SportsRush, she has already written more than 500 articles on golf.

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