BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma – The LIV Golf League returns to the U.S. after a successful two-tournament run in Adelaide and Singapore.
Golf fans in Oklahoma now get their chance to cheer for several players with state ties, including native Oklahoman Talor Gooch, the hottest player in the League.
With back-to-back wins, Gooch will be looking for the three-peat on a course in which few players have familiarity. That could even the playing field a bit, but the biggest factor this week may very well be the weather, with rain in the forecast each day. Those who thrive in the elements should get their chance to shine.
Here are the picks for our top five players and top four teams this week:
1. TALOR GOOCH (RangeGoats GC). Two reasons for hesitation – 1) the long odds of winning three straight; and 2) the immense pressure of winning for his home fans. Even so, he’s red-hot and motivated. Just can’t pick against him right now.
2. MITO PEREIRA (Torque GC). A year ago, he teed it up in Oklahoma at Southern Hills and nearly won the PGA Championship. He comes back to the Sooner State in great form, with three top-6 finishes in his last four LIV starts.
3. PETER UIHLEIN (4AcesGC). Like Gooch, he’s a former Oklahoma State star, one of five Cowboys in the field. He’s going to break through at some point and win a LIV Golf event. Could be fitting that he does it near his old stomping grounds in Stillwater.
4. CAMERON SMITH (Ripper GC). Comes off two top-10 finishes and seems to be on the verge of finding last year’s form. Not sure if Cedar Ridge is the right venue, but his putting skills will give him a chance most weeks.
5. BROOKS KOEPKA (Smash GC). The winner in Orlando finished solo third in Singapore, maintaining his terrific form of late. Would love to take another win into the year’s next major, the PGA Championship.
OTHERS CONSIDERED: Charles Howell III (Crushers GC) has some familiarity with the course and comes off a sizzling 63 in Singapore … Cameron Tringale (HyFlyers GC), Patrick Reed (4Aces GC) and Jason Kokrak (Smash GC) are trending well with three consecutive top 15s … HyFlyers GC Captain Phil Mickelson posted his best result this year, a 15th in Singapore, and seems headed for a top 10 finish soon.
1. RANGEGOATS GC. A second place in Adelaide followed by their first team win in Singapore. Of course, it helps to have Talor Gooch on a heater. But Harold Varner III is finding his form and captain Bubba Watson has shed most of the rust from his six-month competitive absence. Plus, they want to celebrate in Gooch’s home state.
2. SMASH GC. Captain Brooks Koepka is in great form, and Jason Kokrak also is trending nicely. Matthew Wolff was a bit lost overseas, but now that he’s back on American soil – and especially back in the state of Oklahoma, where he played collegiately – it wouldn’t surprise to see him produce a good week.
3. 4ACES GC. Finishing out of the points in Singapore will not sit well with Dustin Johnson & Co. During a quick trip to the range late Tuesday morning, six players were practicing – and four of those were the Aces. They already had their game faces on. It’ll be a bounce-back week for the team leader in points.
4. TORQUE GC. Just two teams have finished inside the points (top 8) for each of the first five events – RangeGoats and Joaquin Niemann’s Torque team. Niemann comes off his first top-10 points finish of the season, an encouraging sign that could make an already talented team even more difficult to beat.
OTHERS CONSIDERED: Fireballs GC is the only team with two former college players from the state – OU’s Abraham Ancer and OSU’s Eugenio Chacarra … Crushers GC had a fantastic finish in Singapore, and CH3 knows the Cedar Ridge layout.
MORE FROM TULSA: Team Notes | Inside the Odds | Where to watch