Why Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra's LIV Win Highlights How Pro Golf Is Broken

Lopez-Chacarra won $4.75m in Bangkok but not much else

Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra celebrates
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra sealed his maiden professional victory at the LIV Golf Bangkok Invitational but it highlighted how broken golf's current ecosystem is.

The 22-year-old defeated a field featuring World No.2 and Open champion Cameron Smith and Major winners like Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, but he earned zero world ranking points for doing so and is no closer to playing in a Major than ever before.

His huge $4.75m payday would have put him 21st on the 2022 PGA Tour money list in just one event and he won $3.2m more than this season's PGA Tour money leader Max Homa has from two starts. Yet it all feels a little sad that there's very little chance of seeing him at Augusta in April or in any of the year's other Majors, with the Spaniard currently down at 2756th in the Official World Golf Ranking. The former World No.2 amateur is consigned to LIV Golf and the Asian Tour with very little chance of ever appearing for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup, either, due to golf's ongoing civil war. 

Lopez-Chacarra has immediately validated LIV's tactic of signing young, up-and-coming amateurs as if he continues in similar form he'll be a household name this time next year, but a household name that plays purely for LIV Golf with occasional Asian Tour starts. Surely it's time the golfing world sorted itself out.

It's also a shame that Lopez-Chacarra and his hero, and Fireballs GC team captain, Sergio Garcia weren't in Madrid this weekend for the Spanish Open. Winner Jon Rahm congratulated him in his speech, saying: "Although some people want to make us look at them (LIV) as the enemy, he is just a 22-year-old guy winning against some of the best players of the world. Congratulations if you see this Eugenio."

Rahm also said earlier in the week that he would like to see the LIV players allowed to play for Team Europe - he clearly doesn't like this new fractured golf world and not many will either.

Let's hope that LIV can become an OWGR-affiliated tour at some point so we can see Lopez and others from LIV make their way into Majors and we can see some sensible scheduling so the likes of Lopez and Garcia can tee it up in next year's Spanish Open - although the DP World Tour clearly don't want that, with February's court case set to decide the LIV defectors' fate. Jon Rahm has really put the Spanish Open back on the map, but it needs all of the best Spaniards playing for it to really thrive.

Golf's fractured landscape is already becoming boring - we just want to see the best playing against the best. We had three very decent tournaments this weekend in the men's game, but only the most obsessed golf fan would have watched all three without having other engagements. The fractured nature of the sport can only be hurting it.

Could Lopez have challenged Rahm at the Spanish Open this week? Who knows, but I would have loved to have seen it. Just like I'd love to see him coming down the stretch trying to win on the DP World Tour or PGA Tour, with world ranking points and potential Major starts on the line.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV