Talor Gooch Out Of US Open After USGA 'Retroactively Changed' Exemption Criteria

Talor Gooch claims the USGA changed the qualifying criteria for the US Open after he thought he had already made it into the field

Talor Gooch at LIV Golf
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Talor Gooch says that he will not be able to play in the 2023 US Open after the USGA changed their qualification criteria – despite him previously thinking he’d made it in.

Gooch was thought to be in the field for the third Major of the season, being held at Los Angeles Country Club in June, after qualifying for the Tour Championship last season.

However, the 31-year-old was subsequently banned from competing by the PGA Tour, and now says that the USGA has altered the criteria saying players must have been eligible to play at East Lake to get into their Major.

Gooch made the claim during an appearance on The 73rd Hole Podcast, where he also said he’d not yet received an invite into next month’s PGA Championship but was still hopeful of making the field for Oak Hill.

After playing in the Masters, though, it was the USGA changing their criteria for the US Open that Gooch was most upset about.

“I was hopeful after Augusta came out and announced their field – they announced that I was in the field via my world ranking but also via qualifying for the PGA Tour Championship,” Gooch told The 73rd Hole Podcast.

“Obviously, I was suspended from the tour and wasn’t able to play but my body of work for the season, up to being banned from the tour, was good enough to get me into the Tour Championship and so I was glad that Augusta recognised that because, historically, up until this last year, if you make it to the Tour Championship, it gets you into The Masters, the US Open and the British Open.

“So when Augusta came out and made that decision, I was very optimistic that everybody else would follow suit.”

Gooch now admits that his hopes of making the US Open rest with either the slim chance of his world ranking holding up, or going through regional qualifying – with the USGA opting not to honour his qualification like the Masters or indeed the Open Championship have.

“The R&A came out and they recognised me making the Tour Championship and rewarded me with an exemption into the British Open, but the USGA decided to go in a different direction and retroactively changed that rule,” Gooch claimed.

“Basically the rule now within the USGA states that you have to qualify for the Tour Championship and also be eligible to play.

“That was obviously disappointing because that change in the rule only affected one person, which was me, so that was frustrating and tough because with LIV still not being rewarded with world ranking points, I have only two options of qualifying for the US Open and that’s via my world ranking, which is going to be very challenging, or trying to obviously go through the qualifying route of sectional qualifying.

“I’m hopeful that my ranking stays high enough for the next month that I get in. Time will tell on that.”

And while Gooch, who won the latest LIV Golf League event in Adelaide, waits on the US Open, he’s still hoping to get into the PGA Championship next month.

“What’s interesting is that there’s guys who aren’t members of the PGA Tour like Min Woo Lee and Harold Varner who have received letters from the PGA of America inviting them to play in the PGA Championship via their ranking," Gooch added.

“A handful of these guys were ranked below me at that time but I haven’t received an invite yet, but I’m very hopeful that will change over the next few weeks.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.