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Gooch: Rory win at Masters would have asterisk without all top players

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Talor Gooch believes a Rory McIlroy victory at the Masters would be tainted by the fact that the tournament won't be inviting some of the world's top players because of their ties to LIV.

"If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his (career) grand slam without some of the best players in the world, there's just going to be an asterisk," Gooch told Australian Golf Digest's Brad Clifton and Rohan Clarke. "It's just the reality. I think everybody wins whenever the majors figure out a way to get the best players in the world there."

Gooch feels the way he does about McIlroy's potential achievement because the American isn't getting a Masters invite himself.

"It's not surprising," Gooch said. "I think the majors have kind of shown that they're not getting on board with LIV. (Joaquin Niemann) went outside of LIV and played some great golf and they rewarded him for that. So hopefully the day will turn when the majors decide to start rewarding good play on LIV. Hopefully that'll be sooner (rather) than later.”

Gooch has been one of LIV's most consistent players since joining the Saudi-backed league in 2021. He claimed the season-long individual championship last year after winning three events. In 2022, he finished inside the points in six of the seven regular-season tournaments.

Niemann was one of three players to get a special invitation to the Masters last week. The Chilean has played in several DP World Tour events, including the Australian Open, which he won in a playoff in December.

McIlroy has four major titles but has never prevailed at Augusta. He finished second there in 2022 after winning The Open and the PGA Championship in 2014 and the U.S. Open in 2011. He won the PGA Championship for the first time in 2012.

The Masters is scheduled for April 8-14 at Augusta National.

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