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Things got a “bit tastier” for Joaquin Niemann this week when he was informed of his special invitation to the Masters. 

The Chilean became the first LIV Golf player to earn one of Augusta National’s discretionary picks, just as it looked he was about to miss out on April’s major due to his sliding world ranking.

With no points to play for on the LIV series, world No.81 Niemann has made it his mission to find an alternate route into all four majors. After shooting 59 and winning LIV’s season-opener at Mayakoba earlier this month, he declared: “I want to win majors, but I’ve got to get in first.”

And the special invitation extended to Niemann by the green jackets in Georgia appears to be reward for his efforts for playing elsewhere during LIV’s off-season, where he won the Australian Open.

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Niemann learned of his Masters reprieve at the Asian Tour’s International Series event in Oman, where 20 of his LIV colleagues are also taking a rare chance to boost their position in the world rankings.

“It’s useful to get world ranking but it sucks that I’m too far away to get into all the majors,” Niemann said when asked about his current status by bunkered.co.uk.

“It’s frustrating. It got a little bit tastier getting that invite from the Masters because one of my goals was trying to get into the first major because the US Open you can get in. You can qualify. That still sucks to do that though but I do have a chance to get in.”

Niemann, who was no.18 in the world before joining LIV, will at least play two majors this season after December’s victory in Australia also sealed his entry into The Open.

But his long-term prospects of playing in all four career-defining events look poor as LIV tournaments remain unsanctioned by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) board.

Talor Gooch, meanwhile, was inside the top 50 when he made the switch and was LIV’s individual champion in 2023, but the American is ineligible for all of this year’s majors after plummeting to 427th in the world.

• LIV golfer accepts shock invite to play Masters

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“When we signed for LIV we knew this is what was going to happen,” Niemann admitted. “Obviously we would have a chance to get world rankings – it’s probably not happening.

“At the end of the day the majors are supposed to host the best players in the world. Everybody knows who they are. Taking out the Official World Golf Ranking – which I think is not really a ranking – you can figure out who they are easily.”

Niemann was expressing his concerns as LIV stars dominated the Asian Tour tournament at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat.

The 25-year-old was three shots behind leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Carlos Ortiz heading into the final round.


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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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