A recent rule revision by the United States Golf Association (USGA) has affected Talor Gooch’s status for next month’s U.S. Open.
Originally, Gooch was set to play at Los Angeles Country Club because he had qualified for the PGA’s Tour Championship before defecting to LIV.
However, the USGA recently said golfers must qualify “and [be] eligible” to play at East Lake — upon joining LIV, Gooch was no longer considered “eligible” for the Tout Championship.
It was a slight change in language, but it proved to shut Gooch out of golf’s third major of the year.
“Any time we make changes to our criteria going forward it impacts somebody and that stinks, but we can only look forward,” USGA CEO Mike Whan told GolfChannel.com on Monday.
But fellow LIV Golfer Phil Mickelson, who earned exemption into the tournament by winning the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, sounded off Whan.
“Hey Mike, what about changing a rule and making it retroactive to exclude someone who has already qualified?” he tweeted Friday. “How can Talor Gooch not take that personal? It’s a direct attack on him and his career. How does it benefit the usga or US open? It doesn’t. Just a d!*k move.”
“Yep. He qualified 9 months ago via Tour championship. 3 months ago Whan changed the wording on the qualifying criteria to take it away. Total d!*k move by Whan. He leads our governing body. Sad,” Mickelson said in another tweet.
Earlier this week, Mickelson said the move helped “collude” with PGA.
“Mike Whan recently changed the wording from ‘qualified’ for the Tour championship to ‘eligible.’ Thereby taking away Gooch’s exemption since he wasn’t eligible to play even though he had qualified,” he tweeted Tuesday. “This doesn’t make the US open better in any way but does help collude with the Tour.”
The U.S. Open is set to tee off June 15.