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The USGA’s recent rule change regarding qualification status for the US Open may not affect Phil Mickelson, at least not this year, but that doesn’t mean he’s pleased with the governing body’s recent decision.
The six-time major winner isn’t one to shy away from a little confrontation, especially on Twitter lately, and decided to call out the USGA and its CEO, Mike Whan. Mickelson isn’t happy that the recent rule change has pushed fellow LIV golfer Talor Gooch to the outside looking in.
USGA Rule Change Makes Life More Difficult For LIV Golfers
In years past, players could be exempt into the U.S. Open by “qualifying” for the Tour Championship at the end of the PGA Tour season, which Gooch did in 2022. In February 2023, the USGA changed the language of the exemption for the 2023 U.S. Open to say “players who qualified and were eligible.”
Gooch, who has won back-to-back LIV Golf events, is not eligible to play this year’s Tour Championships given his move to the Saudi-backed circuit. This means that he went from being exempt into the U.S. Open to not thanks to the USGA switching up its language.
There is no arguing that the USGA’s recent rule change has made life more difficult for LIV golfers.
Gooch explained that “the changed rule only affected one person, which was me,” during a podcast appearance earlier in the year.
READ: USGA ADMITS TO NOT CARING ABOUT THE U.S. OPEN STRENGTH OF FIELD WHILE DEFENDING RULE CHANGE KEEPING TALOR GOOCH OUT OF THE TOURNAMENT
Despite pushback from inside the golf world, Whan doubled down on his stance regarding the rule change while also wishing Gooch the best in his effort to qualify for the major championship.
“Any time we make changes to our criteria going forward it impacts somebody and that stinks, but we can only look forward.”
“I hope [Gooch] gets in but we’re not going to change our criteria and I’m not concerned about the quality of the US Open field,” Whan said.
Gooch will need to be inside the Top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) after the PGA Championship next week in order to qualify for the US Open in June. He is currently the No. 63 ranked player in the world.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris
One CommentLeave a Reply
Whan is a piece of shit. Changing that rule was meant to directly target LIV players. There is no other reason. One would think that a major would want to have the strongest field possible. Changing the rules restrictively is pathetic.