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LIV rebel Talor Gooch calls for end to conflict over breakaway series

US golfer Talor Gooch reacts to making his putt on the 15th green during his second round on the day 2 of The 150th British Open Golf Championship on The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland on Friday

US golfer Talor Gooch reacts to making his putt on the 15th green during his second round on the day 2 of The 150th British Open Golf Championship on The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland on Friday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP

Published Jul 15, 2022

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St Andrews — LIV Golf rebel Talor Gooch hopes this week's British Open at St Andrews does not turn out to be the last major for members of the breakaway Saudi-backed series as he called for an end to the "continued butting of heads" between rival tours.

Speaking after a second-round of 69 left him high up the leaderboard on seven-under for the championship at halfway, the 30-year-old American admitted it would be "a cool one to go out on" if the home of golf was to be the scene of his last major.

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However he was optimistic golf's ruling bodies would not prevent those players who have defected from the PGA Tour or DP World Tour to join LIV from returning in future.

"I'd like to think that the majors would like to have the best players in the world playing in their events in spite of everything that's going on, but obviously that's not up to me," he said.

"Hopefully this won't be my last one."

British Open organisers the R&A have ruled out banning players who defect to the breakaway series but hinted they could make it harder to qualify in future.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said a ban was "not on our agenda, but we will review our exemptions and qualifications criteria for the Open".

One way in which the chances of rebel players appearing in majors could be compromised is if the LIV series does not get formal recognition in the official world rankings, although it has applied for inclusion.

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Gooch said he intended to only play one LIV event before deciding to sign on full time when he was suspended from the PGA Tour, a move that caught him by surprise.

"Historically the Tour has not done that," he pointed out.

Gooch is one of 24 players at this week's Open who have joined the breakaway series, which offers prize money of $25 million for each 54-hole event.

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With several LIV series members impressing this week, he said the rebels had been galvanised by criticism sent their way from Open organisers and rival players.

"Everybody, it feels like, is against us, and that's okay. It's kind of banded us together, I think," he said.

"We've caught a lot of flak for what we've done here recently but I think one thing that cannot be questioned is the quality of players that are there."

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Hoping for a resolution between the existing tours and the new series, Gooch believes they can "co-exist".

"I don't think the golf world benefits from this continued butting of heads. I think there's a way to resolve this," he said.

AFP

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