Surprise PGA invite for Aussie LIV convert

LIV Golf Invitational - Singapore - Day Three
Lucas Herbert has been invited to the PGA Championship. Picture: Lionel Ng/Getty Images

Aussie Lucas Herbert is among seven LIV players to earn special invites to next week’s PGA Championship, the second major of the year, in what could be a thawing of ongoing tensions in the fractured golfing landscape.

Herbert, who joined the all-Australian Ripper GC this season and has tasted team success at the past two LIV events, will be one of six Australians in the field at Valhalla.

He’ll join 2015 PGA winner Jason Day, Min Woo Lee, Cam Davis, Adam Scott and his LIV team captain Cam Smith, who needs a podium finish at least to get the rankings points boost he needs to keep his Olympic hopes alive.

Invitations into majors, which have strict qualification rules, for LIV players have been a bone of contention but officials at Augusta National handed two-time LIV winner Joaquin Niemann a start at the Masters this year, due mainly to his Australian Open win in Sydney last December.

Now PGA officials have invited Herbert along with fellow LIV stars Patrick Reed, Niemann, Dean Burmester, Adrian Meronk and David Puig to the tournament, a number that has surprised plenty.

An invitation was also offered to 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, who declined due to a prior commitment, emphasising, perhaps, the surprise of the invitation.

Despite his claims the Masters winners for the past two years should have an “asterisk” next to their names without all LIV players being eligible, and having refused to attend US Open qualifying, Talor Gooch, a four-time LIV winner, also earnt a PGA invite as officials attempt to assemble the best field possible amid golf’s divided landscape.

There will be 16 LIV players in the PGA field, including defending champion Brooks Koepka, who hits the event in form after winning the most recent LIV tournament in Singapore.

“I mean, winning always helps, but I still have the same expectations every time I go tee it up and that’s to win. Those are my expectations, what I want to do,” he said after that win.

“One result doesn’t mean anything really in the scheme of things. For two weeks, a lot can change. Yeah, it does help, but at the same time, I’ve seen guys miss cuts and then go win and then not compete the week after.

“It’s all ebbs and flows.”