Graeme McDowell tells us how Talor Gooch really feels about his majors snub

Exclusive: LIV Golf's Graeme McDowell reveals how Talor Gooch really reacted to his Masters snub.

Talor Gooch
Talor Gooch

Talor Gooch was on the receiving end of a heavy criticism regarding comments he made about his Masters snub last month.

The LIV Golf individual champion was left hanging by the powers that be at Augusta National, despite having displayed the kind of form that would typically have seen him in contention to receive an invitation.

Gooch, 32, vented his frustration at not receiving an invite during an interview with Golf Digest Australia and in the process took aim at Rory McIlroy, claiming that if he were to win then there would need to be an asterisk by the achievement. 

The internet reacted in typical form, with fans, pundits and even current players slamming Gooch for his comments.

Unfortunately for Gooch, it is annual tradition for The Masters to dish out special invites to international players and this year they decided to go with LIV Golf's Joaquin Niemann, as well as PGA Tour players Thorbjorn Olesen and Ryo Hisatsune. 

Niemann's LIV Golf credentials were not even mentioned by Augusta National, however, as they solely focused on his Australian Open victory at the end of 2023 as the reason for an invite landing on his door mat. 

The red-hot Chilean, who has won two of the first three LIV Golf events in 2024, has also received an invite into the US PGA in May. 

Related: "What's he ever done?!" PGA Tour winner slams Talor Gooch's Masters comments

Talor Gooch
Talor Gooch

Graeme McDowell gives GolfMagic the lowdown on Talor Gooch

In an exclusive interview with GolfMagic ahead of LIV Golf's fourth event in Hong Kong this week, Gooch's Smash GC teammate Graeme McDowell highlighted how the American really feels about being excluded from all four majors this season, especially The Masters.

One of the main reasons Gooch did not decide to chase OWGR points in other tournaments during LIV Golf's off-season, like Niemann did, was down to welcoming a second-born child into the world. 

McDowell told GolfMagic:

"Obviously, Talor Gooch has been one of my teammates and I’m disappointed for Talor, I feel like he’s a top-50 player in the world absolutely doing handstands, and he deserves to be in The Masters.
"But he’s also a very realistic guy who understands the position. He knows why he didn’t get the invite. He knows he didn’t go chase like Joaquin did. He had a second baby in the off-season so you know, he’s got very different personal circumstances that sort of stopped him being able to do that."

Gooch currently sits fourth in the LIV Golf individual standings and arguably remains in the form of his life.

In 2023, he secured three victories on the Saudi-backed Tour and lifted the season-ending individual trophy. 

But despite all that, Gooch sees himself currently sitting 476th in the Official World Golf Rankings and well out of contention to qualify for all four majors in 2024. 

Related: Graeme McDowell tells GolfMagic how Brooks Koepka gave him a lifeline after being left in the cold by Martin Kaymer

Although 21 LIV Golf players, including McDowell, are heading over to compete in the International Series Macau on the Asian Tour next week in a bid to pick up some much-needed OWGR points, Gooch has once again decided to not get involved

McDowell added: 

"He’s (Gooch) a great player, and you would be crazy not to believe that he’s a top-50 player in the world, but listen, we are where we are. The guys understand it. I feel like sometimes the public takes these quotes out of context.
"You know, we all knew these things, and yes, we’re disappointed, but like I said, the expectation levels were there. It was always going to be difficult."

The lack of OWGR points available to LIV golfers has become a point of contention for LIV's organisers in recent weeks, and the breakaway league officially confirmed it had withdrawn its application to be eligible for points earlier this week.

Talor Gooch
Talor Gooch

McDowell believes there will need to be changes made in the future to allow the best players in the world to play in the majors.

The Northern Irishman told GolfMagic: 

"At the end of the day, you know, with the OWGR stuff, the only people that are getting hurt here are the fans. The major championships must have the best players in the world playing in them, the biggest issue we’re having this year is not enough big names are being kept out by the world rankings.
"It’s only a guy like Talor, maybe Louis Oosthuizen, there’s probably only three or four sort of big names and they’re probably not big enough to really move the needle, but as this thing continues to burn on, you’ve got guys running out of exemptions and statuses, guys like Bryson and Dustin Johnson you know, when their five-year major exemptions start running out and those guys aren’t in majors then you’ve got a massive problem.
"That’s when the creativity in the pathways is going to have to change. The categories are going to change the exemptions and the pathways into these majors to include LIV players, because, you know, love it or hate what the product is, it contains a large majority of the best players in the world."

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Stay tuned to GolfMagic for more comments from McDowell following our lengthy interview with him ahead of LIV Golf Hong Kong this week. 

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