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Talor Gooch was hardly the highest-profile player in the first intake of LIV Golf players. The American was named in the field for June’s event at London’s Centurion Club alongside the likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
However, while the controversy that plagued Mickelson at the start of the year has dissipated and Johnson has done his talking on the course, including winning the LIV Golf Invitational tournament in Boston, Gooch has emerged as one of the Saudi-backed venture’s most divisive figures after a series of high-profile incidents.
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However, according to Alan Shipnuck writing for Golf Digest, Gooch's antics are not proving popular with everyone, with one unnamed pro saying: “He always seemed like a nice guy, but now I just want to punch him in the face.” According to the report, Shipnuck pleaded with the player to put his name to the quote, but he refused, saying: “I want to because the guys out here would love it, but I don’t need all the noise that would come with that.”
After the most recent LIV Golf event, in Chicago, Gooch took a sly dig at Shane Lowry, mirroring the Irishman’s words following his victory in the BMW PGA Championship, captioning an Instagram video with “another one for the good guys” as his 4 Aces team claimed their fourth team victory in a row. Before that, he also attracted ridicule by comparing the atmosphere at LIV Golf’s second event in Portland, Oregon to the Ryder Cup.
Not only that, but Gooch is also one of the names on the controversial antitrust lawsuit brought against the PGA Tour by a group of LIV Golf players as they attempt to have their PGA Tour suspensions lifted. Meanwhile, he also attracted consternation from some players after appearing in the DP World Tour's flagship event at Wentworth that Lowry won, despite having never played on the Tour before, which invited suggestions he'd denied a more worthy candidate an appearance.
As to where Gooch has developed his newfound assuredness, he told Shipnuck it just needed time and some results. He said: “At every level it takes me just a second to get my feet under me, and when I do, I can compete at a high level. There’s no doubt it’s a comfort level of some sort. I think, from within, I have to prove to myself that I belong in a sense and that just comes through performance, through results. There’s a lot of cockiness that has to come with being great at golf, and some guys are a little bit more blessed with cockiness, and I just don’t think I’m as blessed as others. So I have to build it a little bit more.”
As well as being on the winning side for the 4 Aces four times out of five, Gooch has also enjoyed four top ten finishes in the individual events as his profile on the Series continues to rise - even if his newfound reputation for controversy clearly hasn't gone down well with everyone.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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