A Lone LIV Golf Competitor Would Somehow Still Qualify for the PGA Tour Championship, and It’s Likely Not Who You Think

While the FedEx Cup Playoffs have provided plenty of drama and entertainment, there’s no denying that not having several of golf’s biggest stars competing for the PGA Tour’s season-long crown hurt.

Of course, we’re talking about those who defected to LIV Golf at various points throughout the year. Just two years ago, Dustin Johnson won two of three playoff events on the way to winning the FedEx Cup title. But we obviously didn’t see DJ hitting bombs at the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind or the BMW Championship at Wilmington Country Club.

Nor did we see recent FedEx Cup contenders Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, or Patrick Reed, all of whom are also past major champions.

Of course, several others who now call LIV Golf home would have made the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings and played the postseason had they not gotten suspended for jumping to the Saudi-backed series.

Three golfers even attempted to get into the playoff field by seeking a temporary restraining order, which was ultimately denied. One of those golfers was Talor Gooch, who many casual fans may not be overly familiar with but is one of the more underrated players in LIV Golf — and golf in general, if we’re being honest.

In fact, Gooch was having such a solid year before he defected that he would actually still be among the top 30 in the field this week at East Lake Golf Club if the PGA Tour allowed him to play.

Despite jumping to LIV Golf in June, Talor Gooch is still in the top 30 of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup standings

Coming into the 2021-22 season, Talor Gooch hadn’t yet recorded his first PGA Tour victory. But the Oklahoma native got off to a hot start, finishing no worse than 11th in his first four events, including a pair of top-fives.

After a down week at the Houston Open, where he finished 60th, Gooch notched that first victory with a three-shot win at the RSM Classic, shooting 22-under. And he continued to play solid golf as the calendar changed to 2022, consistently making cuts and finishing in the top 20.

That included a seventh-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, which consistently has a deep field.

But after tying for 27th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Gooch was gone. Just two weeks later, he was teeing it up in London for the inaugural LIV Golf event, where he finished ninth. He finished seventh in Portland and 10th at Trump Bedminster.

So despite not playing on the PGA Tour since May — outside of the U.S. Open (missed cut) and The Open Championship (T34) — Gooch still sits in 29th place in the FedEx Cup standings, one spot ahead of Adam Scott. But since Gooch obviously isn’t allowed to play at East Lake, Aaron Wise, who’s technically No. 31 but is now the official No. 30, gets the chance to compete for the $18 million top prize.

If you’re wondering, Gooch still sits in 26th on this season’s PGA Tour money list.

Where every LIV Golf player stands in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake

Talor Gooch ahead of the inaugural LIV Golf event in London
Talor Gooch talks to the media during a press conference at The Centurion Club on June 07, 2022 | Aitor Alcalde/LIV Golf/Getty Images

Gooch is the only LIV Golf competitor to make the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the 2022 PGA Tour Championship at East Lake. But just in case you were curious about any others on the LIV Golf roster who are still in the top 150, here’s the complete list.

  • Talor Gooch: 29
  • Jason Kokrak: 59
  • Matt Jones: 73
  • Hudson Swafford: 75
  • Matthew Wolff: 84
  • Abraham Ancer: 98
  • Carlos Ortiz: 115
  • Brooks Koepka: 117
  • Charles Howell III: 122
  • Pat Perez: 132
  • Paul Casey: 139

Stats courtesy of PGATour.com

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