6 LIV players receive last-minute major invites, leaving 1 surprise omission

patrick reed

Patrick Reed was one of six LIV golfers who received a late invite to the PGA Championship this week.

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This season’s next major championship is so close that our countdown has made it to single-digit days. Nine, to be exact. Which made it high time for the PGA of America to finalize next week’s PGA Championship field with special invites. And they mixed in a surprise or two.

The field of 156 was officially finalized Tuesday morning, with six LIV golfers receiving an invite. Most of those came as expected. The PGA of America typically invites any players ranked in the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking, which meant the likes of Adrian Meronk, Patrick Reed and Lucas Herbert weren’t surprises to earn admission. 

LIV Golf tournaments do not receive OWGR points (at the moment) because the league has failed to establish its tournaments to fit various OWGR standards. But Meronk and Herbert both joined that tour this year, so they’ve held on to enough OWGR points from a year ago to qualify. Reed, on the other hand, has played a number of Asian Tour events, which offer points, and also fared pretty well in major championships, which dish out the most points. His 12th-place finish at the Masters last month pushed him back inside the top 100 in the world, ensuring he will compete in his 42nd straight major next week. 

Outside the top 100 OWGR is where the invites get most interesting. 22-year-old David Puig received an invite to Valhalla next week after playing as much golf this year as any of his LIV colleagues. Puig has already played in four Asian Tour events in 2024, in addition to a bunch toward the end of 2023. This year, he’s finished in the top 10 in all of them, even winning the Malaysian open in February. He’s ranked No. 106 right now by the OWGR and 103 by DataGolf, which measures players exclusively on their performance, regardless of tour. 

Liv golfer Talor Gooch with white hat and backwards sunglasses
Talor Gooch is a victim of the times. Just don’t pity him
By: Sean Zak

In other words, Puig is right there on the edge of the top-level golf, and plenty worthy of an invite based on his worldwide finishes. Dean Burmester presents an even more fascinating case, as he ranks outside the top 100 OWGR but well inside that number via DataGolf. Burmester won multiple tournaments in his native South Africa at the tail end of 2023, and then won LIV Golf’s pre-Masters event in Miami. As a result, DataGolf calls him the 38th-best player in the world right now. Yes, even higher than Brooks Koepka. The PGA of America deemed him a value add to its field and now he’ll play in his eighth career major championship.

The final LIV golfer to accept a major championship invite may surprise you. It’s Talor Gooch, world No. 644, and not Louis Oosthuizen, world No. 125.

The difference between those two rankings says everything about each player’s approach to the golfing calendar. Gooch hasn’t played an OWGR-sanctioned event since November. Meanwhile, Oosthuizen won multiple DP World Tour events in December, and nearly won an Asian Tour event in February. But in terms of LIV Golf bonafides, Gooch has Oosthuizen beat. By a lot. The former has won three LIV events while the latter has lifted zero individual trophies.

If you ask the folks at DataGolf, there’s virtually no difference between the two. Gooch is ranked 35th while Oosthuizen is ranked 32nd. In the absence of any other explanation (like, say, Oosthuizen receiving an invitation and turning it down) it’s likely the line for invites was drawn directly between these two gents. Good for Gooch, not so good for Oosty.

It remains possible, though unlikely, Oosthuizen could still earn an invite in the coming days. The PGA of America announced just 154 names of its 156-man field as it is holding two final spots for the winners of this week’s two PGA Tour events. If a non-qualified player wins either event, they’ll be added to the field at Valhalla. But in the event that, say, Rory McIlroy (already in the field) wins the Wells Fargo Championship, we could see a last-last-last minute invite go out to another player like Oosthuizen. 

As for Gooch, it will be his last chance for major championship glory in 2024. He made it clear last week that he did not sign up for the qualifying series of the U.S. Open, nor the Open Championship. Winning the PGA Championship, though — that would easily take care of those.

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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