Forget Talor Gooch. This LIV golfer deserves major invites | Tuesday Takes 

Louis Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen only has one major championship on his schedule this season. But he deserves more.

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It’s time to talk LIV.

Last week, in this space, I penned seven takes about the pro golf world and got a bunch of feedback that could be boiled down to: WHY NO LIV AUSTRALIA COVERAGE?!? The answer: they hadn’t started yet. There were no press conferences conducted, zero shots in the air, zero content from Oz. Now that LIV is riding high and talking smack after a big week Down Under, it’s time to take a peek and ask the question: How’s it going?

1. LIV Adelaide was incredible. But…

They have struggled to replicate it. Ninety-four thousand fans showed up to The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide over the weekend, essentially making it one of the best-attended golf events in the world. That number is no joke. And it’s also not surprising. LIV had a fantastic launch in Australia in 2023, and it doubled down on that for 2024. It’s a true success story. Greg Norman is proud of it, and he should be.  

But there’s a reason this is one of the only events LIV Golf announces attendance figures for. It’s among the only events it wants to publicize official figures for. Would you tell your parents about the bad grades you got in school? Or would you simply boast about that A-plus you got in that one class you really enjoy?

Both these things can be true: 1. LIV Australia was again a rollicking good time, and 2. Nothing else on their schedule compares — and it might not be very close. This week, LIV is in Singapore, a place where Phil Mickelson himself noted LIV would not be visiting if it weren’t for state-owned tourism funds being put on the table. 

For the record, that’s fine! It’s great that a tourism board saw the value in hosting a field of 54, including 20-or-so elite pro golfers and decided to spend their money in that direction. It exists as a business example for the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour, and whatever a merged future could look like. You’d think these Singapore tourism dollars would double and maybe even triple in the event that Mssrs. McIlroy, Scheffler and Spieth would be included in the field. (A boy can dream.) But just because an event exists doesn’t mean it’s an on-site success. Ninety-four thousand are not showing up to Sentosa Golf Club this weekend. And if that standard seems unfairly high, okay! Half that number may not show up, either. 

2. Louis Oosthuizen deserves a PGA Championship invite

Forget Talor Gooch. The LIV-er most deserving of an invite to the PGA Championship in Kentucky next month is Louis Oosthuizen. Fellow LIV golfer Joaquin Niemann received an invite from Seth Waugh earlier this year, largely due to the incredible form he displayed at the end of 2023 and beginning of 2024. And notably, at non-LIV events.

Oosthuizen has been doing almost just as much winning as Niemann, even if his victories have been a bit quieter. Oosty won consecutive DP World Tour events in South Africa at the tail end of 2023 and has finished second twice at LIV events in 2024. Add on another second place finish at the International Series Oman, and he’s been finishing runner-up a lot. One might note that Oosthuizen is really good at that — finishing second-best — since he’s earned the career runner-up grand slam. But second-best at LIV is still really good. 

Right now, DataGolf ranks him 29th in the world. The only LIV-ers ahead of him are Niemann, Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton and Bryson DeChambeau. All of those gents are in the field at Valhalla, but Oosthuizen isn’t. A simple call from Seth Waugh could fix that! (We would endorse it.) But the PGA has long issued invites to top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, and Oosthuizen (120) is currently on the outside looking in. We’ll find out in a week’s time when the PGA of America makes its field official.

3. This could be the September of Rahm

Jon Rahm wants to be on the European Ryder Cup team next year. He doesn’t want to surrender that right with his move to LIV Golf. And he didn’t necessarily do that, but he has made his route to that team more difficult, barring some sort of qualification rules change. 

Rahm can be selected as a captain’s pick, regardless of how many qualification points he earns, so long as he maintains DP World Tour membership entering 2024. To sustain his membership this year he needs to play in at least four DPWT events. Sounds easy enough, except Rahm currently earns a suspension for the upcoming DPWT event every time he plays a LIV event. Confused? Hopefully the schedule below can clarify his scheduling dilemma. When Rahm competes in Singapore this week, he’ll be suspended for the next DPWT event, which is at the end of May in Belgium. 

Jon rahm Ryder Cup schedule
If Jon Rahm wants to maintain his Ryder Cup eligibility, he’ll have some golf tournaments to add in September and October.

Essentially, Rahm has eight question-mark weeks in the coming months, where he could conceivably play on the DPWT. Most are in September and October. (They won’t bar him from doing so, so long as he pays his fines that accompany the suspensions.) But importantly, LIV has one more unannounced event: their team championship. Unfortunately for Rahm, that means one additional suspended event as well. Suddenly, eight eligible weeks becomes six. If we want to get deep in the planning, the European Open and BMW International Open are two of those potential weeks, but they precede LIV events, which precede major championships. If Rahm is going to maintain his DPWT membership, and keep his name in the running for the 2025 Ryder Cup, he may have to play multiple weeks ahead of a major. (I don’t anticipate that happening.)

4. One thing LIV gets right: time zones 

The new world order of golf, whenever that arrives and whatever it looks like, will need to focus on being available for an American TV audience. Taking the best golfers to far flung parts of the world is fine so long as Americans can watch it at a normal time. That may sound like some nationalistic bias, but the biggest TV golf audience is in America. It is what it is, and LIV knows that.

Last week, LIV had pros tee off at 11:15 a.m. in Adelaide, which is 9:45 p.m. on the East Coast (half time zones in Oz!). This week, they’re off at 9:15 a.m. in Singapore, 9:15 p.m. on the East Coast. In both cases, the golf is arriving in the evening in the States, so if the golf sickos want to tune in, they can. That’s important for maximizing viewership, which matters much more than LIV proponents want to acknowledge. When LIV plays in England, they’ve gone off at 2:15 p.m. local time, or 9:15 a.m. in the States, so the sickos can catch the golf during breakfast. This might feel obvious, but LIV is forcing the golf world to consider what a different, more international future might look like. And that could mean playing at night while in the Middle East, it means definitely playing in the afternoon in Europe and it means playing in the morning in the Far East. More than anything, it means having the flexibility to make those decisions. LIV has tons of flexibility.

5. One thing LIV gets wrong: Chicago golf courses

I won’t pretend to know all the negotiations taking place behind closed doors for LIV, with various city and state governments, wanting to turn a profit, etc., but there is more than what meets the eye with LIV’s news this week — that they’ll be staging their Individual Championship event at Bolingbrook Golf Club, southwest of Chicago. 

Inputs like parking and club availability and, well, who pays the event’s hosting fee, shouldn’t matter for what is one of the wealthiest golf tours in the world putting on what should be one of its premier annual events. Outputs matter, and the output of LIV’s pursuit of playing golf in Chicago is a bunch of the best golfers in the world playing a truly forgettable golf course. Bolingbrook is a semi-private track that would not rank inside the top 40 courses in the Chicago area. You could play it tomorrow for $78. You could have a good time playing it, too, just as me and my Chicago golf friends do at any number of similar courses in America’s third-biggest metro. 

But LIV started its Chicago relationship by visiting Rich Harvest Farms the last two Septembers, a top-20 course in the state, but an uber-private one at that. Pivoting away from RHF, LIV could look in any direction and find a handful of top-notch courses to bring the best in the world. But convincing general managers and club members and budget watchers to surrender their course for some of the waning weeks of the Midwest golf calendar is clearly much easier said than done. Not to mention trying to genuinely communicate to TV viewers why this course is the course LIV is visiting in the Chicago area. Again, not knowing all the background negotiations, my question is simple:

What does it tell us?

I’m happy to dive into that conversation! Feel free to share your thoughts on it with a note to sean.zak@golf.com

Sean Zak

Golf.com Editor

Sean Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just published his first book, which follows his travels in Scotland during the most pivotal summer in the game’s history.

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