Explained: Why LIV Golf's Joaquin Niemann has been given a Masters spot

Joaquin Niemann is set to become the first LIV Golf player's to compete in a men's major championship after being given a special Masters invite.

Explained: Why LIV Golf's Joaquin Niemann has been given a Masters spot

Joaquin Niemann is set to become the first LIV Golf player to compete in a men's major championship by special invitation at the 2024 Masters.

The 25-year-old was inside the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking when he bolted from the establishment two years ago. 

But he has seen his ranking plummet to 81. LIV officially failed in their bid to receive accreditation from the governing body last October.  

Whether LIV should or should not receive ranking points has been a topic of debate for more than two years. 

In truth, the dispute has exhausted golf fans, pundits and even some of the best players in the world.  

For their part, the OWGR deny being 'at war' with LIV

Their chairman, Peter Dawson, previously explained the 'rebel' players are 'self-evidently good enough to be ranked'. 

Dawson cited a number of reasons for LIV's rejection. "But the main one is qualification and relegation criteria that apply," he said.  

"With contracts and team captains, there are many ways to stay on the LIV tour even if you are not playing well.

"If LIV could find a way to come up with a more open competition style and relegation, we would certainly consider that."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and outgoing DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley recused themselves from voting on LIV's OWGR bid. 

Quite clearly, that was due to a conflict of interest as both tours were battling LIV's Saudi financiers for control of the men's game. 

One thing we all appear to agree on is the men's major championships need to have the strongest fields. Any win without the best is cheapened.  

Niemann is undoubtedly a player worthy of being in the 2024 Masters field. 

He beat Sergio Garcia in a playoff at LIV's 2024 curtain-raiser in Mayakoba, Mexico at the beginning of February. 

RELATED: Sergio Garcia did not follow through with his Ryder Cup claim

In the immediate aftermath of his LIV victory, he complained about his struggles to get into the majors

It did not appear to register that Niemann had just won $4m plus change. 

"You're one of the best players in the world," LIV's on-course reporter Dom Boulet told Niemann. "But I'm not in the majors," Niemann replied. 

Niemann's statement was incorrect given he had already booked his spot at this year's Open at Royal Troon by winning the Australian Open. 

But still it was hard not to feel even a tinge of sympathy for Niemann. LIV players were reportedly told they were going to get OWGR points. 

Perhaps there might be another lawsuit on the horizon? Wouldn't that be something.

So why has Niemann been given this invitation by the Masters?

In truth, his inclusion could be perceived as an olive branch by a major governing body. 

Talks have reportedly stalled between the aforementioned PIF and the established tours to ratify last June's 'framework agreement'.  

But it's more than likely his invite is recognition of Niemann's efforts to qualify for the majors outside of LIV events. 

The official press release sent out by Augusta National made no mention of Niemann's LIV achievements. 

Instead, they pointed to the fact that the Chilean played - and won - the Australian Open on the DP World Tour. 

He also posted top five finishes at the Australian PGA Champonship and the Dubai Desert Classic

It's also important to remember that Niemann is also a former winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship. 

That tournament is run by Augusta National annually and the winner always receives a Masters spot. 

Niemann won that event as the number one ranked amateur in 2018. 

Read next:

Sponsored Posts