LIV Golf has been an important factor in each of the major tournaments to kick off the 2023 PGA Tour season. The competing tour represented three of the top six names on the final Masters leaderboard, and Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship to the outrage of LIV critics rooting for his death.
A few mavericks who qualified comfortably for the year’s first two majors did better than expected, but others weren’t so lucky.
Since the Official World Golf Ranking does not award points for LIV Golf, many players have fallen too far below the OWGR to automatically qualify for the majors. Sergio Garcia, who hasn’t missed a major since the 1999 US Open, hasn’t been able to play in the PGA Championship because of his OWGR status. He failed to automatically qualify for next month’s US Open as well, but the seasoned veteran found a loophole that slipped him onto the field just in time.
Sergio Garcia feels the negative consequences of joining LIV Golf
It’s no secret why some of golf’s most celebrated stars have left the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf. The schedule is lighter, there are no cuts, and salaries are astronomically greater than those available on the PGA Tour. But many defectors did not consider the negative consequences associated with joining an up-and-coming league.
OWGR still refused to award points for LIV Golf events, so these players were continually falling down the rankings week after week. This is important because the OWGR can determine which players are eligible for the majors. If you fall too far down the list, you have to play your way up to qualify another way.
In Garcia’s case, the Spaniard fell outside the OWGR’s top 200, meaning he’s not high enough to automatically qualify for the majors. Garcia never cracked the PGA Championship list and lost his first major in 24 years.
The 2017 Masters champion also failed to qualify for next month’s US Open, so he took matters into his own hands.
Sergio Garcia is using a loophole to qualify for the 2023 US Open
There are dozens of ways to qualify for the US Open. It would have been easier for Garcia over the years to be ranked in the top 60 of the OWGR, but that’s just not a reality for the LIV golfer right now.
So, he sought a loophole.
On Monday, Garcia entered the 36-hole US Open qualifier in Texas. He needed to finish eighth or better in the 120-man field to earn a spot in the next major tournament, which is exactly what he did.
Garcia shot 66 at Bent Tree Country Club in the morning and another 66 at Northwood Club in the afternoon to finish tied for fourth at 9-under-par. The 11-time PGA Tour winner won his last gap of the day to narrowly escape a playoff for last place, so he’ll battle it out at LA Country Club next month for his 23rd consecutive US Open.
The PGA Tour can do its best to shut down LIV Golf, but it cannot thwart these supposed enemies from playing their way to the majors one way or another.