LIV Golf scores major win ahead of PGA Championship
Talor Gooch plays his shot from the 18th tee during the final round of the LIV Golf Las Vegas tournament at Las Vegas Country Club in February 2024. Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

LIV Golf scores major win ahead of PGA Championship

The 2024 PGA Championship announced its official field for the second major of the year, and there were a few surprises on the list. Seven LIV Golf players who could not qualify for the major championship received special invitations to tee it up at Valhalla Golf Club next week.

Talor Gooch, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, Dean Burmester, Adrian Meronk, Lucas Herbert and David Puig all accepted last-minute invites from the PGA of America to compete in the tournament. Most of those names aren't surprising given their career accolades. 

Gooch won three LIV tournaments in the span of five starts last season, and he currently sits at No. 35 in Data Golf's player rankings. Niemann ranks No. 7 on that list thanks to two wins and six top-10 finishes in seven LIV starts this season. Reed is a former Masters champion, and he will be playing in his 41st consecutive major championship. He has three top-20 finishes in his last four PGA Championship starts. 

Burmester isn't as big of a name as the three above, but he's been playing some excellent golf recently. The South African won back-to-back events on the DP World Tour in the winter and snagged his first LIV Golf win in Miami last month. He ranks third in the season-long rankings, behind only Niemann and Jon Rahm. Meronk has won four times on the DP World Tour since 2022, and Herbert has three DP World Tour wins and one PGA Tour victory on his resume. 

The one questionable choice was 22-year-old David Puig, but he was a decorated amateur with two wins and 10 straight top-15 finishes on the Asian Tour. Kudos to him for showcasing his talent worldwide and gaining the PGA Championship's attention.

The PGA of America's goal is to have the strongest field in golf, and it couldn't make that claim without some of these LIV Golf additions. There's no question that Gooch, Niemann, Reed and Burmester are top-100 golfers in the world right now. They deserve to be in this field.

This is a victory worth celebrating for LIV Golf, which just proved the entities that run major championships still recognize the Saudi-backed league as a top tour with high-end talent. LIV is hoping the USGA and the R&A feel the same way. 

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