LIV Golf Already Lost a Player at the Masters But Collectively Had a Solid First Round at Augusta National
While there are always plenty of storylines surrounding the Masters, arguably the biggest coming into this 2023 edition was the presence of the 18 players from LIV Golf.
But while some may have been expecting some sort of rumble like you’d see in West Side Story or The Outsiders between the PGA Tour players and the LIV Golf guys (I’d legit pay good money to see that), everything we’ve seen around Augusta National thus far has seemed pretty cordial.
Most of the LIV players even participated in the Par 3 Contest, which went well. I’ve never been a big fan of Bryson DeChambeau, but seeing him out there with his mom on the bag on Wednesday was admittedly awesome.
Now, as far as Thursday was concerned, LIV Golf as a whole has to be feeling pretty good overall. They’ve got a guy tied for the lead. They’ve got several guys under par. And only a couple of their guys have essentially taken themselves out of the tournament. Well, that’s in addition to the one guy who actually took himself out of the tournament.
Kevin Na withdrew after nine holes
That would be Kevin Na, who went out in the very first group Thursday morning alongside 2003 Masters champ Mike Weir. But after just nine holes, Na withdrew with an undisclosed illness. Some on social media weren’t buying it, instead believing he quit because he shot a 4-over 40. Believe what you will on that.
Outside of NA, the only LIV Golf guys of the remaining 17 who’ve made it tough on themselves to make the cut were Bubba Watson, who shot a 5-over 77, and Louis Oosthuizen, who was just one shot better with a 4-over 76. As only the top 50 and ties in the now-86-player field make the cut, Oosthuizen (T73) and Watson (T78) are likely gone after 36 holes.
LIV Golf has six players in the top 30 after the first round of the Masters, including co-leader Brooks Koepka
However, the other 15 are all in the mix to play Saturday and Sunday (and maybe Monday with the incoming weather). Ten LIV Golf players currently reside within the cut line, while five are just one shot out in a tie for 54th. And six are currently in the top 30, obviously including co-leader Brooks Koepka, who fired a brilliant 7-under 65 and sits atop the leaderboard alongside Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm.
Cameron Smith opened his week with a 2-under 70, good for a tie for 17th. Phil Mickelson, who has to be feeling great with his round given how he’s been playing in LIV Golf, is tied for 26th at 1-under, as are fellow past Masters champions Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson. Joaquin Niemann also shot a 71 on Thursday.
Here’s a quick look at where every LIV Golf player stands heading into the second round of the 2023 Masters.
|LIV Golf Player||Score||Position|
|Brooks Koepka||65 (-7)||T1|
|Cameron Smith||70 (-2)||T17|
|Joaquin Niemann||71 (-1)||T26|
|Phil Mickelson||71 (-1)||T26|
|Patrick Reed||71 (-1)||T26|
|Dustin Johnson||71 (-1)||T26|
|Talor Gooch||72 (E)||T37|
|Abraham Ancer||72 (E)||T37|
|Harold Varner III||72 (E)||T37|
|Jason Kokrak||73 (+1)||T45|
|Sergio Garcia||74 (+2)||T54|
|Thomas Pieters||74 (+2)||T54|
|Charl Schwartzel||74 (+2)||T54|
|Bryson DeChambeau||74 (+2)||T54|
|Mito Pereira||74 (+2)||T54|
|Louis Oosthuizen||76 (+4)||T73|
|Bubba Watson||77 (+5)||T78|
Can LIV Golf keep things going in Round 2 of the 2023 Masters? We’ll find out soon enough.