ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — None of the golfers who have opted to join the Saudi-funded breakaway series know if they will be allowed to keep playing at the sport’s four biggest events.
Talor Gooch is preparing himself for that outcome.
The 30-year-old American, who drew a lot of stick from his fellow players for comparing the atmosphere at the LIV Golf series to the Ryder Cup, shot a 3-under 69 on Friday in the second round on the Old Course at the British Open, taking him to 7 under overall.
“I mean, it would be a cool one to go out on. Hopefully not, though,” Gooch said, adding he and former college teammate Wyndham Clark were discussing the situation over the last few days. “I’d like to think that the majors would like to have the best players in the world playing in their events in spite of everything that’s going on, but obviously that’s not up to me.
On Wednesday, R&A chief Martin Slumbers spoke about the LIV series and threatened to change the British Open criteria, possibly making it more difficult for some players to gain entry to golf’s oldest championship. He said “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
Gooch is one of the dozens of players who have joined LIV Golf, causing a rift in the sport. And he made things more testy this month after the second event in Oregon when he said he imagined the atmosphere at the tournament was as good as the Ryder Cup.
Gooch was on the winning team at Pumpkin Ridge. He has never played at the Ryder Cup.
“A bunch of players came up, and they’re like really? Really? I was like, hold on a second, guys. Give me a little break. I just won. I was in the moment. I might have gotten a little aggressive with the comments,” Gooch said. “I’ve taken a little bit of heat for it.”
Gooch won his first PGA Tour title in the final tournament of 2021 against a field that had no one from the top 10 in the world on the weekend. He made his British Open debut last year at Royal St. George’s, finishing in a tie for 33rd.
Playing in his eighth major tournament, Gooch finished in a tie for 14th at the Masters in April, then in a tie for 20th at the PGA Championship. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open.
Gooch isn’t the only LIV player who has been doing well at St. Andrews this week. Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood have all posted good scores on the Old Course.
“The credentials of everyone speaks for themselves. It’s obviously cool for me to see other guys that are out there playing well. We’ve caught a lot of flak for what we’ve done here recently,” Gooch said. “I think one thing that cannot be questioned is the quality of players that are there.”
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