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On a day where one of LIV Golf’s brightest talents effectively ruled himself of playing the US Open, another has declared that his move to the Saudi-backed circuit is fuelling his major dream. 

Talor Gooch was back in the headlines on Thursday after giving a blunt response when asked whether he would be entering upcoming US Open qualifying.

While his Smash GC teammates Graeme McDowell and Jason Kokrak both outlined their plans to qualify for both the US Open at Pinehurst and The Open at Royal Troon this summer, Gooch replied “I’m not.”

World no. 624 Gooch, LIV’s individual champion in 2023, has arrived to defend his title in Singapore this week without a place in the field in any of this season’s majors.

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That is not the case, however, for Joaquin Niemann, who is eligible for three of the four majors having been handed a special invite to last month’s Masters, where he finished tied-22nd.

The Chilean, who has won LIV titles in Mayakoba and Jeddah this season, also has an invite to this month’s PGA Championship at Valhalla and is already in The Open thanks to his victory at the DP World Tour’s Australian Open back in December.

His world ranking has plummeted from 18th to 85th since leaving the PGA Tour, but Niemann believes restricted access for LIV players in majors has spurred him on to deliver in the career-defining tournaments.

“Since I started playing golf, my dream was to be winning majors,” Niemann told the Straits Times.

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“I’ve always had that dream, but I feel now it’s even bigger knowing that they took the majors away from me for a little bit.

“Knowing that made me realise how much I want to win a major. Going to LIV helped me realise and see that and work harder to get to the majors because I know that if I’m in, I have a chance to win.”

Niemann also expressed his ambition to win gold for Chile at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

“There aren’t many athletes who have a chance to win a gold medal,” he said. “If we play well and everything goes well, we can win a gold medal which I think gives a lot of expectation and hope for Chile to have a gold medal, which for me would be a dream.”


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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