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The USGA has responded to claims by Talor Gooch that it “retroactively” changed the criteria for his US Open exemption.

Gooch, the winner of the most recent LIV Golf League event in Adelaide last weekend, made the claim during an appearance on The 73rd Hole Podcast.

The 29-year-old believed he would be playing at Los Angeles Country Club in June after qualifying for the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship last year prior to being suspended by the US-based circuit when he joined LIV.

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“The USGA decided to go in a different direction and retroactively changed that rule,” he said. “Basically the rule now within the USGA states that you have to qualify for the Tour Championship and also be eligible to play.”

Gooch, who can still qualify for the US Open via either sectional qualifying or through the world rankings, described it as “obviously disappointing”, “frustrating” and “tough”.

“I continue to hold out hope that the majors will do what’s right,” he added. “At Augusta, it was so apparent that having the best players in the world is more important than what tour you decide to play on.”

Now, though, the USGA has provided its version of events.

Whilst the organisation does admit to changing that exemption category, it denies that it did so “retroactively”, as Gooch contends.

In an email to bunkered.co.uk, a spokesperson replied: “The USGA annually reviews its exemption criteria for all championships, and we did for the 2023 US Open.

“Importantly, we provided more clarity to a specific exemption category to reflect that players must be both qualified and eligible for the Tour Championship, beginning with the 2023 US Open.

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“The change was not made retroactively, but rather as a part of our annual review process and included within several other changes made to the criteria for the upcoming 2023 championship.”

The 123rd US Open takes places at Los Angeles Country Club June 15-18, 2023.


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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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