Talor Gooch Backs 54-Hole Format for Its Fan Appeal in LIV Golf

“How do we tailor a product and exciting event to the fans; and just my opinion through my experience of 54 holes, it just appears to be more exciting.”

by Sead Dedovic
Talor Gooch Backs 54-Hole Format for Its Fan Appeal in LIV Golf
© Michael Reaves/Getty Images Sport

Although popular figures in LIV Golf believe that it would be great if this Tour changed its system in the future, Talor Gooch is not a golfer who shares the same opinion. 

Before the start of the Masters, perhaps the biggest star of LIV Golf, Jon Rahm, emphasized that transitioning to 72 holes would be a great thing for LIV Golf. This would be the first step towards even better things for LIV Golf and likely a good introduction to unification. In addition to Rahm, as we have already mentioned, some big names from LIV Golf share the same opinion. 

Jon Rahm at Masters 2024
Jon Rahm at Masters 2024© Warren Little/Getty Images Sport

However, some disagree with Rahm's and others' opinions. One of them is Talor Gooch. During a media call, he pointed out that the priority must be the fans of this sport. Gooch believes that events with 54 holes attract more attention from fans and also bring an additional factor of excitement.

“How do we tailor a product and exciting event to the fans; and just my opinion through my experience of 54 holes, it just appears to be more exciting.”- Gooch said, as reported by Golf Monthly!

Gooch doesn't understand why there is so much fuss about holes and highlights why specific numbers like 90 or 108 aren't mentioned. He believes that the number 72 lacks justification and doesn't understand why that number was chosen as the number of holes.

This amazing golfer is emphasizing the importance of considering the fans' enjoyment over factors like world ranking points. He believes that the priority should be to deliver excitement to the audience, and in his view, a 54-hole format offers more excitement for fans compared to a traditional 72-hole format.

Phil Mickelson: In 72 you can kind of work your way into the tournament 

Phil Mickelson, one of the most popular names in LIV Golf, is also open to change, despite being an experienced golfer. It's known that older golfers are often skeptical of innovations and changes. Mickelson believes that 72-hole events give individuals a chance to bounce back if they've had a disappointing first day. 

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson© Andrew Redington/Getty Images Sport

The experienced golfer emphasized that 54-hole events make it harder for golfers to recover after the first day. Mickelson is a golfer who wants every player to have the opportunity to come back and perform their best. The leaders of LIV Golf have not yet commented on such remarks. It will be interesting to see if they are inclined to change and if they want to consider Mickelson's opinion.

"You have to play well the first day or you’re so far behind that it’s hard to catch up, whereas in 72 you can kind of work your way into the tournament and fight if you don’t have it the first day, fight to keep it around par then make up ground. It could go either way. It’s just the nuances of a different format."- Mickelson said.

Tiger Woods on LIV Golf format

Tiger Woods, the biggest name in the golf scene, commented on the LIV Golf format last year, not understanding why individuals have chosen such a path, playing events with 54 holes and primarily focusing on money.

Neal Shipley and Tiger Woods at Masters 2024
Neal Shipley and Tiger Woods at Masters 2024© Andrew Redington/Getty Images Sport

Tiger Woods expressed his concerns about the focus on guaranteed money and shorter events in LIV Golf. He questioned the motivation for players to put in the hard work and practice necessary for success when they were already receiving substantial upfront payments, regardless of their performance. Woods emphasized the importance of earning success through dedication and effort, suggesting that the current format may not adequately reward those principles.

Furthermore, Woods contrasted the shorter 54-hole events in LIV Golf with the longer, more rigorous tests traditionally seen in professional golf, particularly for younger players transitioning from amateur to professional ranks. He suggested that the 72-hole format was essential for developing and testing young talent, stressing historical practices such as longer playoffs in major championships as evidence of this tradition.

PGA Tour players generally criticize this system, failing to see its benefits for everyone. Those who have transitioned to the LIV Golf path from the PGA Tour certainly struggled to adapt to the new system, having played in a different format for years. Few are willing to publicly voice their opinions on this LIV format, but the fact remains that LIV Golf leaders must make some changes.

Perhaps the words of Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson will influence Tour leaders to consider changes. It won't be easy for them to compete in Majors against PGA Tour players accustomed to 54-hole events.

Talor Gooch Liv Golf