Jon Rahm thinks this LIV player should be getting major invites

jon rahm and talor gooch stare at one another from opposite sides

Who does Jon Rahm think is deserving of an invite to the majors? Yep, Talor Gooch.

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When it comes to major championship invitations, matters of the English language prove important.

There is, for example, a reason why our verb of choice for those who receive a spot in the Masters field is earned. If you were to list the (many) great traits about Augusta National, its openness and accessibility would likely not be included.

Augusta, as with its annual April tournament, remains proudly and universally stingy. In the case of the Masters, only the best and most deserving players are invited. And this year, for reasons related to OWGR policies and the decisions of some players to receive life-changing sums from LIV Golf, that list does not include Talor Gooch.

You likely know that already. After all, it was only a week ago that Gooch declared to the golf world that he felt a Rory McIlroy Masters victory in April of this year would deserve “an asterisk” because of LIV’s inability to guarantee its players invitations into the majors.

“If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his grand slam without some of the best players in the world, there’s just going to be an asterisk,” Gooch said. “It’s just the reality. I think everybody wins whenever the majors figure out a way to get the best players in the world there.”

Of course, nearly all of the best players in the world will, in fact, be at the Masters, by nearly every objective standard. The best players on the PGA Tour will be there by virtue of OWGR status and other exemptions. The best LIV players will be there too, many of whom have major-championship exemptions from victories over the last several seasons or at Augusta itself. Just a few weeks ago, Augusta National even went as far as to invite a non-exempt LIV player, Joaquin Niemann, whose recent form and competitive efforts to make himself Masters-eligible (including starts in Australia during the offseason) showed he was deserving of a spot.

“I’m very happy to see Joaco get invited,” Niemann’s LIV teammate Jon Rahm said of the former’s exemption. “To be fair, he’s shown the interest of wanting to qualify many different ways and has played the way you’re supposed to play, so I think it’s only right that he gets invited.”

But Gooch, who did not have preexisting status in any of the majors before joining LIV Golf for a considerable sum of money, is not included on that list. He will be watching the action from Augusta from home this year, the consequence of his own decisions, yes, and also the thorny issue of the majors figuring out whether they should adhere to their long-term guidelines for eligibility (the OWGR) or invite players on the basis of merit on their respective home tours.

Thanks to his Masters victory last year, Rahm does not have to worry about these issues, but it seems he is worried anyway. On Wednesday from LIV Hong Kong, Rahm was asked about the debate surrounding major championship eligibility, and he said he felt the majors would be missing one significant entrant this year: Talor Gooch.

“If that’s the way you’re going to go, I think there’s one player that played fantastic all last season that’s been a little bit left out, and not saying that they all have to, but I think Talor Gooch should be under consideration to possibly get an invite into those majors, as well,” Rahm said. “He was the best player out here last year, and if that doesn’t show good golf and being worthy of being in majors, I don’t know what does.”

In Rahm’s eyes, the situation is relatively simple: until LIV can earn a fair shake in the eyes of the governing bodies responsible for the majors, it’s not right to leave the best players on the tour out. Gooch, owner of three victories and $35 million in earnings over the last two years, certainly qualifies.

“While we don’t have a clear path to majors through LIV yet, I think they should be taking everybody under consideration,” Rahm said.

True as that may be, it remains to be seen how Rahm’s theory synchs with reality. The Masters and others could theoretically include a LIV exemption category, but that would be an unprecedented step the likes of which modern golf has never seen. And it is not like golf’s governing bodies to move quickly.

The bad news for Gooch and Rahm is that at least as it relates to the first major of the year, reality is not hard to grasp.

Masters invites aren’t given, they’re earned.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at