Golf-LIV Golf Contingent Leave Mark on Masters Leaderboard
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AUGUSTA (Reuters) - Although no one from the LIV golf contingent was able to get into the Green Jacket at this year's Masters, a few players from the controversial Saudi-backed circuit made an impact on the leaderboard at Augusta National.
Brooks Koepka, a four-time major winner, and Phil Mickelson a three-time Masters champion, were two of LIV’s most prominent names. They finished in second place, four shots behind Spaniard Jon Rahm.
Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters winner, was another shot back, finishing in fourth place. Joaquin Niemann, the next best LIV Golf player, finished tied for 16th.
The Masters this year was the first since LIV Golf launched last summer. 18 players from the lucrative circuit, which offers 54-hole tournaments with no cut and has raised discussion about their competitiveness played in the year’s first major.
Koepka stated that it shouldn't surprise anyone to see him and his LIV Golf friends pose a threat on Augusta National, one of the most important stages in golf.
"We are still the same people. I just mean that I know if my health is good, I can compete. Koepka stated that he doesn't believe any of the men who participated in this event believed otherwise.
He said, "When Phil plays well, we know that he's going be competitive." The same thing, P-Reed. "P-Reed, the same thing. I believe that this is just manufactured media to show that we cannot compete anymore. That we are washed up."
Koepka was the best player to win the LIV Golf victory as he started the final round with a lead of two shots. He had also won all three majors in which he held at least a part of the 54-hole lead.
Koepka's lead vanished after four holes and he was unable to regain it as he finished with a 3-over-par 75.
Mickelson started the final round 10 strokes behind Koepka, but he shot the lowest score of the day, a seven under-par 65, and leapt into contention.
Mickelson was disappointed, but he said that he and others from LIV Golf did not want to offend other players.
Mickelson stated, "I wouldn’t look at it that way." "I am very grateful that we're here, that we can play in majors. It was amazing to see the top players from around the world come together in this tournament. That was awesome.
Augusta National opened the door last December to LIV Golf players who were eligible to play in the first major of the year.
A player's ranking in the world ranking, even if they are not exempt, is what will allow them to access the majors. LIV Golf players have fallen down the list while they wait for a ruling on eligibility to compete on the Saudi-backed circuit.
Niemann was delighted with his Masters performance, as it will allow him to earn some ranking points.
Niemann stated, "Hopefully they find something. Then let all the top player be playing with top players in majors." "I thought this week was important just for the record. "I mean, hopefully you get some points."