Why It's Ridiculous To Count Out LIV Players At The Masters This Week
There's 18 LIV players in the field this week at Augusta. To rule them out is naive.
The narrative heading into this week's Masters is that LIV Golf players don't play 'real' golf and they'll be far too rusty to compete for the fabled Green Jacket.
That simply can't be true.
Cameron Smith has admitted that LIV fields are weaker but has hit out at the claims they don't play real golf.
The controversial league does play just 54-holes and players don't have to worry about missing a cut with the added peace of mind that they'll be picking up at least $120,000 in prize money no matter how they play.
Playing that format vs big, designated PGA Tour events where you must make the cut to cover your expenses around the likes of Riviera and Bay Hill is obviously not as taxing, but you can't rule out the LIV players purely based on the format that they've been playing for less than a year.
The quality of players the league has signed up since June has been fairly remarkable, with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Niemann all capable of winning on any given week around any given golf course.
DJ won The Masters in 2020, Smith won The Players and the 150th Open last year among others, Reed won the 2018 Masters and took McIlroy all the way at the Dubai Desert Classic in January, Koepka sounds like he's fit again and motivated to go back to winning Majors like he was doing between 2017-2019, Abraham Ancer won a WGC just over 18 months ago and Joaquin Niemann opened the week 63-63 to win the Genesis Invitational round Riviera last February.
They're six of the league's 'best' players right now and it wouldn't be a surprise to see any of them contending on Sunday afternoon.
Of course there's also 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, who looks well out of form to be fair, Mito Pereira who almost won the PGA Championsip last year, seven-time DP World Tour winner Thomas Pieters and plenty of other talented and winning golfers who could surprise people this week.
Will a LIV player win The Masters? It's probably unlikely but certainly not out of the equation. A good amount of them will inevitably miss the cut but to simply rule them all out is naive.
Which 18 LIV players are in the field this week?
- Abraham Ancer
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Sergio Garcia
- Talor Gooch
- Dustin Johnson
- Brooks Koepka
- Jason Kokrak
- Phil Mickelson
- Kevin Na
- Joaquin Niemann
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Mito Pereira
- Thomas Pieters
- Patrick Reed
- Charl Schwartzel
- Cameron Smith
- Harold Varner III
- Bubba Watson
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four 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 at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. 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: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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