Rory McIlroy Breaks Silence on Talor Gooch's Masters Asterisk Comment

"I think to be fair to Talor, if you read the entire - the question and then the answer, it's not as if he just came out with that."- McIlroy said.

by Sead Dedovic
Rory McIlroy Breaks Silence on Talor Gooch's Masters Asterisk Comment
© Warren Little / Getty Images Sport

Talor Gooch's recent statements that a potential Rory McIlroy victory at the Masters would have an asterisk due to the absence of LIV Golf players sparked a significant reaction. Many view Gooch's response as frustration, given that he won't be eligible to play in the Masters this year. McIlroy lacks a Masters title to complete the Grand Slam. 

Joaquin Niemann, a LIV Golfer, received an invite to play at the Masters. Many believe he will be a great addition to the tournament and has a chance to go far. McIlroy couldn't stay silent about Gooch's comments and also commented on Niemann's participation, praising the young Chilean.

"Look, the Masters is an Invitational and they'll invite whoever they think warrants an invite," McIlroy said, as quoted by

McIlroy is someone who prefers to approach things rationally, without immediately "firing shots." The Northern Irishman believes that the person conducting the interview was pushing Gooch to say that. McIlroy is not sure how sincere Gooch was when talking about McIlroy and his potential victory at the Masters.

"I think to be fair to Talor, if you read the entire - the question and then the answer, it's not as if he just came out with that. I feel like whoever did the interview led him down that path to say that, so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt there a little bit. He just agreed with what the interviewer asked."

McIlroy is proud of Joaquin Niemann, who demonstrated readiness and determination to play in the Masters. Niemann worked hard, patiently awaiting his opportunity. Joaquin showed his qualities when it mattered most, earning a well-deserved invite from Masters officials.

Joaquin Niemann
Joaquin Niemann© Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images Sport

It will be an ideal opportunity for him to express gratitude for the invitation and prove that he is a golfer worthy of participating in major competitions. Rory believes that Gooch could have followed Niemann's example.

"At the same time, Joaquin Niemann got an invite and I played with him a few weeks ago in Dubai, and he went down to Australia and won. He was in Oman last week. He has been chasing his tail around the world to get this, play his way into August or show enough form to warrant an invite. I don't know if the same can be said for Talor."- Rory McIlroy said.

McIlroy shared his strategy, indicating that he wants to concentrate on the upcoming Florida swing, particularly events like Bay Hill and The Players. He emphasized his immediate goal of putting on strong performances in these three tournaments. Following The Players, during a two-week break, McIlroy plans to shift his focus to targeted practice sessions, honing specific shots required for upcoming tournaments. 

After this dedicated practice phase, he envisions a brief stop in Augusta on his way to the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, spending a couple of days playing there. 

If we judge by his plans and statements, McIlroy doesn't want to put great pressure on himself, considering that the pressure he previously imposed regarding the Masters affected his desired results. Although he is well aware of the importance of winning the Masters and completing the Grand Slam, McIlroy is taking a much more careful approach this time. This year's Masters is expected to bring various excitements, and many hope that McIlroy will be the main protagonist in the story and finally be rewarded with the Green Jacket.

Rory McIlroy's return to PGA National: Feel like my game is in pretty good shape

Northern Irishman decided to return to PGA National after six years and play in the Honda Classic, with which he has great memories, considering that he secured victory there in 2012. Rory McIlroy won the 2012 Honda Classic by finishing with a final round of 69 and a total score of 12-under par.

McIlroy reflected on the importance of his victory in the Honda Classic, noting that at the time, he was merely renting a place in the area and hadn't yet purchased a home. He expressed his connection with the region, now considering it a place he calls home. 

Recalling the tournament, he highlighted the challenge of holding off Tiger Woods' charge on the final day, particularly citing crucial moments on holes 15 and 17 where he made great ups and downs. McIlroy nostalgically recalls the great times and can't believe that 12 years have passed since his performance. 

What's most important for him is that he feels fantastic and believes he is in good shape. He is particularly happy that he can stay at home this weekend and compete in a relaxed environment. McIlroy is excited about the upcoming challenges.

Rory Mcilroy Talor Gooch