Phil Mickelson Defends Talor Gooch, Calls Out “D!*k Move” By USGA’s Mike Whan

Talor Gooch Phil Mickelson USGA Mike Whan
Phil Mickelson called out USGA's Mike Whan on Twitter. (Getty Images/PGA Graphics)

After winning back-to-back titles on the LIV Golf tour, Talor Gooch actually fell four spots in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), from No. 56 to 60th.

Gooch is almost guaranteed to fall out of the top 60 because LIV does not receive rankings points, thus de-qualifying him for the U.S. Open in Los Angeles as only the top 60 (as of May 22 and June 12) are exempt.

Despite the politics (and blatant corruption) of the OWGR, Gooch assumed he was already exempt for the U.S. Open after he’d “qualified” for the PGA Tour’s 2022 Tour Championship. One of the U.S. Open’s longstanding exemptions was to the 30 players who “qualified for the Tour Championship.”

But due to the USGA changing a single word in the offseason, Gooch’s feat no longer qualified him for spot in the U.S. Open field at Los Angeles Country Club.

Mike Whan, a political ally of PGA Tour crime boss Jay Monahan, had the USGA change the word “qualified” to “eligible.” (Gooch “qualified” for the Tour Championship but was not “eligible” after being suspended by Monahan for playing in the LIV Golf league.)

Gooch spoke out about the unfairness of it all on a podcast this week:

“That was obviously disappointing because that changed rule only affected one person, which was me,” said Gooch on the “73rd Hole” podcast.

“So that was frustrating and tough because with LIV still not being rewarded with World Ranking points, I have only two options to qualify for the U.S. Open: via my World Ranking, which is going to be very challenging, or trying to obviously go through the qualifying route of sectional qualifying.”

Talor Gooch Wins 2023 LIV GOLF Adelaide
Talor Gooch of the RangeGoats celebrates the win after finishing the 18th hole during day three of Liv Golf Adelaide at The Grange Golf Course on April 23, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson, though, defended Gooch and called out Whan for “colluding with the Tour.”

“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,” wrote Mickelson, who finished T2 at the Masters. “This doesn’t make the US open better in any way but does help collude with the Tour.”

Mickelson followed up with two more tweets – both times calling out Whan for his “d!*k move.”

“Hey Mike, what about changing a rule and making it retroactive to exclude someone who has already qualified?,” wrote Mickelson. “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.”

Mickelson added, “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.”



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