LIV star questions ‘arbitrary’ 72-hole tournaments: ‘Why is it not 90?’

Talor Gooch looks on at LIV Golf Jeddah on March 1, 2024, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

On a media call this week, Talor Gooch said LIV Golf's 54-hole tournament format is more exciting for fans.

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Less than two weeks after Jon Rahm said he would like to see LIV Golf change its format from 54 to 72 holes, one of LIV’s other top players is holding strong that 54 holes makes a better product for fans.

In a media call this week ahead of LIV Golf’s events in Adelaide (April 26-28) and Singapore (May 3-5), Talor Gooch said the focus should be on spectators.

“Everyone’s talked about World Ranking points and all this stuff, but no one’s talked about what do the fans enjoy more?” said Gooch, the defending champion at the next two tournaments. “People want something that’s going to be more exciting. And I personally think that the 54 holes is more exciting for the fans.”

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Gooch won three times on LIV last year, but without playing any events with World Ranking points or having already qualified through other avenues, he missed out on the Masters. He’s not currently in any of the 2024 majors.

One big reason LIV Golf didn’t receive World Ranking points was due to its 54-hole structure and lack of access. LIV eventually withdrew its application for points.

“It’s just funny to me, this arbitrary number of 72,” Gooch said on the call. “Why is it not 90? Why is it not 108? We just decided to make that number the number, for what reason?”

Prior to last week’s Masters, Rahm told BBC Sport that changing to 72 holes could help bring golf’s divide — i.e. the pending merger — a little closer together. Even before joining LIV, Rahm made it known he wasn’t a fan of the 54-hole format.

“If there ever was a way where LIV could go to 72 holes I think it would help all of this argument a lot,” Rahm told the BBC. “The closer I think we can get LIV Golf to some other things the better. I think it would be for some kind of unification to feed into a world tour or something like that. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes.”

Phil Mickelson added on Sunday, after his T43 finish at the Masters, he “wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of LIV events went to 72 [holes].” Although asked at this stage of his career, as a 53-year-old golfer, if 54 holes was easier for him, Mickelson was indifferent.

“I’m not sure because it’s more of a sprint,” he said. “You have to play well the first day or you’re so far behind that it’s hard to catch up, whereas in 72 you can kind of work your way into the tournament and fight if you don’t have it the first day, fight to keep it around par then make up ground. It could go either way. It’s just the nuances of a different format.”

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at