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Ladies and gentlemen, you can put away those asterisks. Talor Gooch WILL be participating in next week’s PGA Championship.

The 2023 LIV Golf Individual champion has taken to social media to announce that he has received an invite to the second men’s major of the year from the PGA of America.

As a result, the 32-year-old will take his place in the field at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

Looking forward to Valhalla next week!” wrote Gooch. “Thank you for the invitation @PGA. See y’all there.”

The news is interesting on a number of fronts.

• Padraig Harrington calls out LIV Golf stars over ‘etiquette’

• Greg Norman: ‘LIV Golf will be around long after his death’

For Gooch personally, it must count as as a reward, of sorts, for his impressive play on the LIV Golf League last year. The American won three times – in Adelaide, Singapore and Andalucia – en route to topping the year-long individual standings.

His performances failed to impress Augusta National Golf Club sufficiently enough to merit an invite to last month’s Masters Tournament – an event he infamously said would be labelled with an asterisk if Rory McIlroy was to win it and complete the career grand slam, considering it would be, as he put it, “without some of the best players in the world”.

In the end, additional punctation or no additional punctuation, Scottie Scheffler coasted to a second major win.

In a broader sense, Gooch’s invite could be regarded as a win for LIV. The league has struggled to garner support from the organisations that administer the major championships. Indeed, on the eve of last year’s PGA Championship, PGA of America Seth Waugh was dismissive of the league’s long-term viability.

I don’t think people really care about it. And I don’t see how it’s a survivable business model.

• Golfer, 61, quit game for 20 years – now he’s in a major!

• Erik van Rooyen: ‘Golf’s Mr Nice Guy? I guess it means I’m not an a*******!’

“They can fund it for as long as they want to, but no matter how much money you have, at some point, burning it doesn’t feel very good,” he said.

“I don’t see they are accomplishing much. It seems logical to me, then, that you would work towards some sort of agreement. I hope the game comes back together in some form.”

To go from that position to, just 12 months later, inviting LIV’s leading player in 2023 in his championship is quite a leap.

Gooch pushed the number of LIV players in the PGA Championship field into double figures. He joins defending champion Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Cam Smith, as well as Dustin Johnson, Tyrrell Hatton, Joaquin Niemann, Martin Kaymer and David Puig.

Within hours of Gooch breaking the news, TenGolf reported that Puig would also feature in the field. The world N0. 106 has largely struggled on LIV this season but has enjoyed success on the Asian Tour.

The Spaniard already has an Open Championship berth thanks to his victory at the IRS Prima Malaysian Open in February.

[Note: At the time of writing, Gooch has confirmed the news of his invite but the PGA of America hasn’t.]

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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