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Reed's streak of playing in majors in jeopardy at PGA Championship

Patrick Reed Patrick Reed - The Canadian Press

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Reed has not missed a major since he first became eligible for them at the 2014 Masters, a streak that now is in peril with the PGA Championship two months away.

The PGA of America sent out its first batch of invitations, and Reed was not on the list. Joaquin Niemann received an invitation, having won the Australian Open and posting two other top-5 finishes in European tour-sanctioned events, along with a LIV victory.

How much that LIV Golf Mayakoba win mattered is unknown. The Masters also offered Niemann a special invitation and cited only his European tour performances.

Kerry Haigh, the managing director of championship for the PGA of America, said another batch of invitations will go out after The Players Championship. The full list will be announced in the weeks leading to the May 16-19 championship at Valhalla.

None of the majors have a category for leading players from LIV Golf, and there's no indication that will change. The PGA of America has the largest list of invitations, which for years has included the top 100 (and a little beyond) in the world ranking. It just doesn't list the top 100 as a category.

“We certainly do use that list, as well as other lists from various tours around the world,” Haigh said. “It's nothing new or different than what we've done in the past and hopefully we'll plan to do so again.”

The PGA Championship also relies heavily on a PGA Tour money list that starts after the PGA Championship. Haigh was asked if there would ever be a LIV points list.

“It's the same answer,” he said. “We look at all the lists. We don't necessarily put a number on it. If players are deserving, hopefully we would invite them.”

Reed has plunged to No. 109 in the world — LIV Golf doesn't get world ranking points, and the Saudi-funded league last week withdrew its application for them.

It's not from a lack of effort. Reed played twice on the Asian Tour last week (a tie for seventh and a tie for 15th), and he is playing this week in Macau. The Masters presumably would be his last chance to make an impression. He has yet to win on LIV Golf.

The majority of LIV players in the majors are recent major champions.

The R&A did not make exceptions for LIV when it announced its criteria last week, other than to add five spots from the International Federation Ranking — the leading four won money titles on the Japan, Asian, South African and Australasian tours, and the fifth player from those tours is based on the world ranking.

Andy Ogletree with LIV Golf is the top Asian tour player.

One concession the R&A is likely to make comes from final qualifying on four links courses two weeks before the July 18-21 Open at Royal Troon. They currently have 16 spots — four from each site. The goal is to boost that to 20 spots.

That might explain why the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which last year awarded three spots to the British Open to players not already exempt, offered only one this year. The Memorial also has only one spot available. But then the fields in those signature events are so strong that most players already are exempt.

Reed is not exempt for the British Open, either. He got into the U.S. Open last year because his world ranking was still among the top 60. That's no longer the case, depending on how he plays in the Masters.


NBC continues its revolving door of analysts on the PGA Tour, and there's a new wrinkle at The Players Championship. Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch — whose contracts were not renewed after 2022, leading to an awkward departure — will be back for Thursday and Friday coverage on the Golf Channel.

This is the 50th anniversary of The Players Championship. Maltbie will be in his familiar role as an on-course reporter, while Koch will join Mike Tirico in the booth.

“Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch have called some of the most iconic moments at The Players Championship throughout the past three decades and having them on next week’s broadcasts is a great way for NBC Sports to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Players,” said Tommy Roy, the lead golf producer for NBC.

Kevin Kisner will be in the booth with Dan Hicks on the weekend. Kisner made his debut as an analyst at Kapalua for The Sentry, and he also worked the Phoenix Open.

NBC still has not decided on a permanent replacement for Paul Azinger. Since that contract was not renewed after the Ryder Cup, the network has used Paul McGinley, Kisner and Luke Donald the last two weeks in Florida.

Brandel Chamblee and Curt Byrum have occupied the seat during tournaments shown only on Golf Channel.


Anthony Kim finally got under par in his return from a 12-year hiatus when he shot 65 on the final day of LIV Golf Hong Kong. He has made $110,000 in two weeks, finishing last in Saudi Arabia among those who finished and 50th in Hong Kong.

This week, Kim will have to earn his pay. He has signed up for the Asian Tour's International Series event in Macau, which is loaded with LIV players.

“My expectations are always high, and that’s not always a great thing because it’s easy to get down on yourself. And after last week, I was very disappointed,” Kim said after his 65 in Hong Kong. “But I knew I just needed to keep plugging along.”

Kim said he is happy to be playing again and said his LIV Golf experience has been “amazing.”

“Golf isn’t as important as living the right way, and I’m focused on my family and doing the right things,” he said. “Golf will come, and it’s just a matter of time.”


Valhalla last hosted a major event when Rory McIlroy won the 2014 PGA Championship for his fourth major championship. Expect a few changes for this year's PGA, with additional length on a few of the holes and a change to zoysia grass on the fairways.

And just like Oak Hill a year ago, players can expect it to be in pristine conditions.

Kerry Haigh, the managing director of championship for the PGA of America, says the club in Louisville, Kentucky, has been closed for play since November.

Haigh said Valhalla will open for three days of play around the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Otherwise, there will not have been much traffic ahead of May 16-19 championship.

“Amazing support,” Haigh said.


Patty Tavatanakit is off to a strong start this year, and equally amazing is that the former UCLA star from Thailand is not succeeding on just one circuit.

Tavatanakit is coming off a stretch of four tournaments on three tours.

She won the Aramco International in Saudi Arabia on the Ladies European Tour, her first victory since capturing a major at the ANA Inspiration as a rookie in 2021. Then she moved to the LPGA Tour and won the Honda LPGA Thailand before a home crowd.

Tavatanakit tied for eighth in the HSBC Women's World Championship, and then stayed in Singapore another week for the start of the Korea LPGA season. She tied for fourth in the Singapore Women's Open.

She was No. 72 in the women's world ranking to start the year. Now she's up to No. 23.


Will Zalatoris twice referred to good friend and fellow Dallas resident Scottie Scheffler as “the kid” in his interview at Bay Hill. Both are 27. Scheffler is two months older. ... Scheffler now has 44 bogey-free rounds since 2020, the most of anyone on the PGA Tour. He had four bogeys on Saturday at Bay Hill, his most in any round since the Tour Championship last August. ... Steve Stricker tied for 32nd last week at the Cologuard Classic. It was only the third time in 66 starts he has finished out of the top 25 on the PGA Tour Champions.


Ludvig Aberg reached No. 10 in the world ranking after only 20 starts as a pro. He has had nine top 10s, two runner-up finishes and two wins.


“It's the most nervous I've been for a shot that means nothing.” — Nick Dunlap on playing Augusta National for the first time on a Masters scouting trip.


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