Which LIV Golf players are qualified for the US PGA Championship field?

Today’s Golfer look at the LIV Golf players in the field at Valhalla and analyze their chances of becoming the 2024 US PGA Champion.

Twelve months ago any lingering notions of LIV Golf being no more than a retirement home for creaking golfers were refuted by the triumph of Brooks Koepka in the PGA Championship.

Moreover, as the 34-year-old landed a fifth major victory, his fellow rebels Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith also finished inside the top 10.

In the immediate aftermath he was asked if he had been congratulated by LIV Commissioner Greg Norman. “I called my wife and that’s it,” he said. “That’s the only person I’m interested in talking to.”

He later added: “I definitely think it helps LIV, but I’m more interested in my own self right now, to be honest with you. I’m out here competing as an individual at the PGA Championship. I’m just happy to take this home for the third time.”

Brooks Koepka won the 2023 PGA Championship

It came across as a snub but it was maybe not so simple because Koepka didn’t sign up with LIV to be a poster boy. In refusing to join in the tit-for-tat he was thinking purely of himself rather than playing any sort of political propaganda game.

There are many rebels who would sing a similar tune if they won this year’s PGA Championship while others would welcome spicing things up were there a repeat success and LIV does have a strong contingent in terms of both numbers (15) as well as quality.

How did the LIV golfers qualify?

Koepka will defend his title and he is joined by Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer as former winners of the championship. Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, and Dustin Johnson qualify by virtue of winning another major in the last five editions.

But the PGA Championship likes to boast that it is the best field in golf and has consequently invited Dean Burmester, Talor Gooch, Lucas Herbert, Adrian Meronk, Joaquin Niemann, David Puig, and Patrick Reed.

Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau look set to join LIV Golf.

How does the LIV format fit with the major championship preparation?

This question has rumbled on since LIV’s inception and essentially there are two factors. The first is that the circuit plays less golf and there is no flexibility about where and when to play.

Ironically, however, the PGA Tour’s response to LIV (Signature Events) has dictated where and when its stars perform. Rahm, for example, was less than impressed that he had to play the RBC Heritage and Travelers Championship in the middle of last year’s major season.

It’s not difficult to imagine LIV golfers thinking their itinerary (time off after the first major of the year, time off right before it, and two weeks of action in between) is superior to playing Harbour Town right after the Masters and Quail Hollow right before the PGA Championship.

What of tournament format? DeChambeau is bullish. “Whether it’s six rounds or one round of golf, you’ve still got to go out and hit the best shots you possibly can every single time. To me, it doesn’t matter. I’m great with whatever.”

Bryson DeChambeau wants LIV's top 12 players to get places in the Majors.

Ahead of the Masters Jon Rahm told BBC Sport: “I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to 72 holes.”

A few weeks later, in Australia and back on LIV, he was asked about that thought and didn’t back down: “At the end of the day, LIV is a business. If it doesn’t fit the product, it doesn’t fit the product. I’m just a player. There’s a lot of people that are a lot smarter than me that can figure it out and explain why they believe 54 holes may be better for them.”

He did add: “I can tell you from player experience, you forget by Sunday that you’ve only played three rounds. It makes no difference. You win or you don’t win. Going down the stretch, the feelings are all the same. That would be my counterargument to that.”

LIV Commissioner Greg Norman was sitting alongside Rahm and said: “If you really don’t play well on Friday here, you have a hard time because the quality of play here is so high. It is intense pressure straight away because you have to perform right off the bat.”

Jon Rahm finalizes his LIV Golf contract with CEO Greg Norman.

Ultimately, DeChambeau feels LIV’s preparedness is simple: “We have the firepower to play well and win a major championship. We know how to get it done, so it’s just a matter of time.”

Phil Mickelson agrees. “I think it’s just inevitable,” he said. “There’s so many great players on this tour that they’ll continue to win majors.”

LIV golfers at Valhalla

Jon Rahm (Odds with Skybet 14/1)

Championship record: 58-4-MC-13-8

The bad news? The big Spaniard hasn’t won anywhere since he slipped his arms inside a green jacket last April and, despite finishing in the top 10 in all seven of his LIV starts this year, he has struggled to impose himself in the final round. He also carded two 76s on defense of that green jacket. The good news? Valhalla is a Jack Nicklaus design and Rahm has a fine record on them (a win at Muirfield Village, second at Sherwood and Glen Abbey).

Brooks Koepka (Odds 14/1)

Championship record: 70-15-5-4-13-1-1-29-2-55-1

Ahead of last year’s championship, having spurned a golden opportunity to win the Masters, Koepka admitted: “I didn’t sleep Sunday night trying to figure it out.” He added that he had now figured it out but “I’ll keep it to myself.” Four days later he was lifting the trophy. He won a fourth LIV title two weeks ago and said: “I like the way things are trending.” He also remains a major championship machine: 39 starts, 18 top 10 finishes, five of them wins.

Cameron Smith (Odds 25/1)

Championship record: 25-MC-56-64-43-59-13-9

The Aussie is a two-time LIV team winner since the Masters but he hasn’t won on his own since two victories last summer. Nonetheless, after the latest success in Singapore, he said: “Couldn’t have wanted a better finish heading into a major.” He remains a solid major operator, backing up his Open win with three top 10s in five starts.

Cameron Smith won his third LIV title at LIV Golf Bedminster.

Bryson DeChambeau (Odds 25/1)

Championship record: 33-MC-MC-4-38-4

In the aftermath of his 2020 US Open victory, coming shortly after he was fourth in this event, it seemed the big-hitter had changed golf forever. Yet he then went six majors without breaking the top 25. That has changed however. He’s registered three top 10s in his last six starts and his sixth at the Masters last month was easily a career-best effort at Augusta.

Joaquin Niemann (Odds 30/1)

Championship record: 71-MC-MC-30-23-MC

The Chilean remains in superb form with top 10s in Australia and Singapore making it 11 of them in his last 13 starts around the world. But in finishing T22nd at the Masters he made it a round 20 major championship starts without one top 10.

Joaquin Niemann won his first LIV Golf Tour event by defeating Sergio Garcia under the stars in Mexico

Tyrrell Hatton (Odds 40/1)

Championship record: 25-10-MC-10-48-MC-38-13-15

The Englishman’s ninth place at the Masters was not only his best effort at Augusta (by some margin), it was also a first major championship top 10 since 2019. He’s been solid since moving to LIV but has no win anywhere in over three years.

Talor Gooch (Odds 100/1)

Championship record: MC-44-20-MC

A big opportunity for the American to land a first major championship top 10 if he can avoid distractions because he has become the bogey man for LIV critics and a champion for LIV fans. The truth lies in-between. He was scintillating in winning three times last year and has been solid this year.

Talor Gooch won LIV Golf's individual title in 2023.

Dustin Johnson (Odds 35/1)

Championship record: 10-5-MC-48-8-7-MC-13-27-2-2-MC-MC-55

His Masters performance was something of a disaster (78-79) and he’s been poor in this championship since back-to-back near-misses in 2019 and 2020, but he was a winner earlier this year in Las Vegas.

Dean Burmester (Odds 125/1)

Championship record: 59-MC-54

The South African made it four wins on the DP World Tour with back-to-back successes on home soil before Christmas and he added a first LIV triumph with a play-off defeat of Sergio Garcia in Miami last month.

Lucas Herbert (Odds 175/1)

Championship record: 71-MC-71-13-40

The Aussie’s major championship best performance was his T13th in this event two years ago and he has a sneaky good record on Nicklaus designs: he won the Irish Open at Mount Juliet in 2021 and the ISPS Handa Championship at Ishioka last April.

Lucas Herbert won the ISPS Handa Championship in 2023

Patrick Reed (Odds 80/1)

Championship record: 59-30-13-2-MC-MC-13-17-34-18

Like Hatton, Reed has gone over three years without tasting victory and he was bemoaning his sloppy form at Augusta despite finishing T12th.

David Puig (Odds 200/1)

Championship record: debut

A major championship bow for the 22-year-old Spaniard who won on the Asian Tour before and after Christmas.

Adrian Meronk (Odds 125/1)

Championship record: 40

The big Pole is still chasing a first major championship top 20 in his eighth start. He does have a win on a Nicklaus track though – at Mount Juliet in 2022.

Adrian Meronk celebrating becoming the first Polish winner on the DP World Tour

Phil Mickelson (Odds 250/1)

Championship record: 6-3-MC-8-29-34-57-9-2-34-23-6-1-16-32-7-73-12-19-36-72-2-18-33-MC-MC-71-71-1-58

A stupendous winner of this championship three years ago, but he has only one top-five finish anywhere since New Year 2023 (albeit that came in last year’s Masters).

Martin Kaymer (Odds 500/1)

Championship record: MC-6-1-MC-MC-33-MC-12-7-42-MC-MC-MC-MC

The 2010 champion has not logged a top 10 anywhere since June 2021 and he’s failed to break 75 in his last five championship rounds.

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About the author

Matt Cooper is an experienced golf journalist who has covered countless Major tournaments.

Matt Cooper
Contributing Writer

Matt Cooper has been a golf journalist for 15 years. He’s worked for, among others, Golf365, SkySports, ESPN, NBC, Sporting Life, Open.com and the Guardian. He specializes in feature writing, reporting and tournament analysis.

He’s traveled widely in that time, covering golf from Kazakhstan to South Korea via Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

More straightforwardly, he’s also covered numerous Majors, Ryder Cups and Solheim Cups.

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