February 5, 2024

LIV Golf star vents frustrations moments after winning £3m event | Golf | Sport

Joaquin Niemann is again moaning about the lack of majors he will play this year despite winning his first LIV Golf event. The ex-world No. 15 won LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico by beating Sergio Garcia in a four-hole playoff after both shot 12-under-par.

Niemann, 25, previously missed out on a win against Dustin Johnson in his first LIV tournament, days following his exit from the PGA Tour in late August 2022. He left alongside newly-named The Open champion Cameron Smith and another four top 100 players – Anirban Lahiri, Cameron Tringale, Harold Varner III and Marc Leishman.

The Chilean golfer ranked No. 19 globally back then, but 18 months on sits at 74th in the latest Official World Golf Ranking. He has dropped eight places from the previous week alone, despite winning in Mexico, and nine since 2023 started.

His rank dipped because golfers cannot earn ranking points from LIV Golf events. After all, the league is still not eligible for tour status, regardless of recent reviews.

After his victory at Mayakoba, Niemann expressed his frustration over the lost opportunities. He said: “I’m not in the majors,” before beginning his post-round interview.

But this isn’t entirely true – Niemann will be at The Open after winning the Australian Open last year to earn an exemption. However, his place at the Masters, PGA Championship or U.S. Open is not assured.

His best chance to return to Augusta was qualifying during last year’s tournament, but he finished joint-16th, two strokes short of securing his return in April. Only five LIV Golf players – Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Smith – have exemptions into all four majors after winning one of them relatively recently.

Niemann also aims to do just that. “I want to win majors, but I gotta get in first,” he said at Mayakoba.

The Chilean also reiterated his hope that his form caught the attention of the relevant governing bodies, adding when asked afterwards: “Oh, I hope so. I mean, I’m just ready.”

For now, it remains to be seen whether he will do enough over the coming weeks and months. But that only motivates Neimann more.

“I think I have a different mindset for this year,” he continued. “It kind of hurt me a little bit not being in the majors, and I think also helped me to get motivation to earn my spot back into the majors, into the elite players.

“I think it helped me a little bit to get focused back, to start working harder, to start working with a purpose.

“I think it’s paying off, and I just want to keep telling myself that I’m capable of doing this, of winning tournaments, and this is a good way to prove that, and I don’t want to stop working the way I’m doing it. I just want to keep going.”

  • This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up the Daily Express editorial research. A Daily Express editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors here


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