Phil Mickelson did not hold back when leaping to the defence of his fellow LIV Golf star Talor Gooch, with the latter set to miss out on the US Open following a change in qualification rules.
Gooch was expecting to compete at the third major championship of the campaign this June, after being eligible to play at last season’s Tour Championship. This eligibility saw the LIV star secure a spot at last month’s Masters, but a change to US Open rules seems to have cost him a spot at Los Angeles Country Club.
Initially USGA rules stated that ‘those players qualifying for the season-ending Tour Championship’ earned a spot, but this has since been switched to read ‘those players who qualified and were eligible for the season-ending 2022 Tour Championship’.
This rules out Gooch due to the American star being ineligible for the PGA Tour’s season-ending event after being banned by commissioner Jay Monahan due to his LIV allegiances. Gooch himself has been in hot form on the Saudi-funded series, winning back-to-back events in Adelaide and Singapore.
Despite criticism the rule-change has been defended by USGA boss Whan, who told Golf Channel: “Any time we make changes to our criteria going forward it impacts somebody and that stinks, but we can only look forward.” This has been slammed by LIV loyalist Mickelson though.
Taking to social media, this six-time major champion rose to the defence of Gooch and let out an x-rated rant towards the US Open chief. “Hey Mike, what about changing a rule and making it retroactive to exclude someone who has already qualified?,” he tweeted.
“How can Talor Gooch not take that personal? It’s a direct attack on him and his career. How does it benefit the USGA or US open? It doesn’t. Just a d**k move.” Gooch himself revealed he was left ‘disappointed’ after his eligibility was wiped with the criteria change.
“That was obviously disappointing because that changed rule only affected one person, which was me,” the LIV star told the 73rd Hole Podcast. “So that was frustrating and tough because with LIV still not being rewarded with World Ranking points.
“I have only two options to qualify for the U.S. Open: via my World Ranking, which is going to be very challenging, or trying to obviously go through the qualifying route of sectional qualifying.” Gooch has since missed the deadline to enter qualifying, and now needs an impressive finish at this month’s PGA Championship to earn a spot.
Source : Mirror