Talor Gooch will see a couple of familiar faces when he stands on the first tee Friday at LIV Golf Tulsa to begin his quest for a third consecutive win.
BROKEN ARROW, Okla. – Talor Gooch will see a couple of familiar faces when he stands on the first tee Friday at LIV Golf Tulsa to begin his quest for a third consecutive win.
One of his playing partners is Sergio Garcia. It will be the third consecutive round that Gooch has been paired with the Fireballs GC captain. That includes the final two rounds at LIV Golf Singapore, which Gooch won by beating Garcia with a birdie on the first playoff hole.
The other member of the threesome is Dustin Johnson, the captain of Gooch’s former team, 4Aces GC. It will be the first time Gooch has been grouped with DJ at a LIV Golf event since leaving the 4Aces in the offseason to join good friend Harold Varner III on the rebranded RangeGoats GC.
Since then, things have been a bit spicy between the two ex-teammates.
After the switch, DJ said he told Gooch that he “should enjoy being on stage” celebrating last year’s Miami Team Championship “because that was the last time he’s going to do that.”
When Gooch won the individual title last month at LIV Golf Adelaide, it was the 4Aces that won the team trophy, beating the RangeGoats by one stroke. That prompted DJ to say, “I'm glad we snipped him … just to give it to him a little bit more.”
When the RangeGoats finally broke through the following week with their first team win at LIV Golf Singapore while Gooch was collecting his second consecutive individual trophy, Gooch said afterward, “Where’s DJ right now?”
Even though the former teammates have had fun with the back-and-forth banter, the RangeGoats are wary of poking the bear too much. The 4Aces were the dominant team in 2022 with five tournament trophies, and they sit atop the team standings through the first five events this year.
“I don't hate the Aces,” said Varner after winning in Singapore. “I hate that they're really good and we haven't beat 'em. And we did today and I'm super proud of the three men standing next to me. It shouldn't be that animosity, but it just happens in team sports. We beat 'em.”
Added RangeGoats captain Bubba Watson: “And we will beat 'em again. They're going to come for us next time.”
Replied Varner: “Oh, yeah, they're going to be pissed.”
We’ll see just how much starting Friday.
More observations from the first-round groups:
Captains Phil Mickelson (HyFlyers GC), Brooks Koepka (Smash GC) and Martin Kaymer (Cleeks GC) are together in an all-PGA Championship winners trio starting on hole No. 2. Mickelson won in 2005 and 2021; Kaymer in 2010; and Koepka in 2018-19. This year’s PGA Championship is set for next week at Oak Hill.
Gooch is one five former Oklahoma State stars on the LIV Golf roster. Three others will be together in the group starting on hole No. 18 – Charles Howell III (Crushers GC), Peter Uihlein (4Aces GC) and Matthew Wolff (Smash GC). Uihlein and Howell are ranked right behind league-leading Gooch in the Individual Champion standings.
Three groups consist entirely of captains. Besides the PGA winners group, Joaquin Niemann (Torque GC), Louis Oosthuizen (Stinger GC) and Henrik Stenson (Majesticks GC co-captain) will tee off on hole No. 3, while Bubba Watson (RangeGoats GC), Cameron Smith (Ripper GC) and Bryson DeChambeau (Crushers GC) will start on hole No. 5.
Ace producers Chase Koepka (Smash GC) and Laurie Canter (Majesticks GC) are paired in the group starting on hole 10. Koepka set off a wild celebration at LIV Golf Adelaide with his hole-in-on at the Watering Hole, while Canter – filling in for the injured Sam Horsfield – following with an ace the next week at LIV Golf Singapore. The third member of the group is Torque’s David Puig.
Full groups listed below: