‘It’s embarrassing’: Rocco Mediate blasts LIV star for Masters remarks

A split image of Rocco Mediate and Talor Gooch.

Rocco Mediate criticized Talor Gooch for his Masters comments.

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To Rocco Mediate, Talor Gooch’s comments about the Masters field strength have gone over about as well as a fart at a wedding.

On his SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio Show Tuesday, the six-time PGA Tour winner who now plays in the PGA Tour Champions, ripped Gooch for claiming a Rory McIlroy Masters victory to complete the career grand slam would come with an asterisk.

“So [Gooch says] if Rory wins the Masters, there should be an asterisk,” Mediate said. “I wonder why that is? Everybody that belongs in the Masters, all the past champions that are on LIV are playing. Is it because he’s not in? What has he ever done?”

Despite being a top-35 player in the Official World Golf Ranking when he left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf in 2022, Gooch has plummeted to No. 449 and is not qualified for any 2024 major championship after playing in three a year ago. He did win three LIV titles during the 2023 season but none victories did not earn him ranking points as the league has been denied accreditation by the OWGR.

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“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 told Australian Golf Digest this week. “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.”

While most LIV golfers signed up for the breakaway league knowing its status with the OWGR was uncertain (and remained after the league was denied points), many of LIV’s top stars will be at Augusta come April. Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, Tyrrell Hatton and Patrick Reed are all qualified as past champions, major winners or other qualification criteria.

Earlier this month, Augusta National did extend a special invitation to LIV golfer Joaquin Niemann specifically for leading international players who are not already qualified. Niemann won LIV’s season-opening event at Mayakoba.

Mediate took exception that Gooch, who has one win on the PGA Tour at the 2021 RSM Classic, had the audacity to publicly complain about not being in the field.

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“The fact that he was the best player on LIV last year is an embarrassment. Fact,” the 2008 U.S. Open runner-up said. “So he’s won one tournament on the PGA Tour? What? Does that mean he can count that? Whenever the hell that was? Please, no one cares. So please, he just needs to be quiet, go about his business, take all his money and fine. Just stop it. To say something about Rory, are you kidding me? Are you absolutely kidding me? It’s embarrassing.”

It’s unclear why Gooch singled out McIlroy specifically or if he was asked about him in the question by Australian Golf Digest.

Gooch also suggested that the majors should create an exemption for the top 12 players in LIV’s standings, similar to how there is one for the PGA Tour’s 30 Tour Championship qualifiers.

But Mediate said Gooch’s league needs to step in.

“LIV should be going, ‘Dude, you need to shut up. Just shut up, we’ll handle this’. And they will,” he said.

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