How did each of these 16 LIV golfers get into 2024 PGA Championship field

For only the second time this season, PGA Tour and LIV Golf professionals will tee it up side-by-side at the PGA Championship.

Golf fans everywhere welcome that, as golf’s great schism has accomplished only one goal to date: elevate the importance of the four major championships.

Anyway, 16 players from the Saudi-backed circuit will play this week at Valhalla, all of whom qualified in a different fashion.

We explain how each player did so below, while also ranking each LIV golfer in the field:

1. Brooks Koepka

Exemption: Past Champion (2018, 2019, 2023)

Brooks Koepka arrives at Valhalla as the defending champion, having won his fifth major title at Oak Hill a year ago. He recently won a LIV Golf event in Singapore, proof that his game is rounding into form at the right time.

Brooks Koepka, PGA Championship

Brooks Koepka practices at Valhalla ahead of the 2024 PGA Championship.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

2. Jon Rahm

Exemption: 2023 Masters Champion

Although Jon Rahm has not yet won a LIV Golf event, nobody should count out the two-time major champion this week. He has the game to thrive at Valhalla, a course that places a premium on distance and accuracy off the tee. Rahm can play in the PGA Championship through 2027 thanks to his win at Augusta National last year.

3. Joaquin Niemann

Exemption: Special Invite

Joaquin Niemann started the LIV Golf season with fireworks, firing a 59 at Mayakoba to launch up the leaderboard. He went on to win that week and also won a LIV Golf event in Jeddah in March. In addition, Niemann triumphed at the Australian Open this past December, finished in a tie for fourth at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January, and then finished solo third in Oman in March. Hence, the PGA of America invited Niemann to compete this week.

Joaquin Niemann, LIV Golf, Australian Open

Joaquin Niemann kisses the Stonehaven Cup after winning the 2023 ISPS HANDA Australian Open.
Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

4. Bryson DeChambeau

Exemption: 2020 U.S. Open Champion

Bryson DeChambeau gained access to the 2024 PGA Championship by way of his U.S. Open triumph at Winged Foot in the middle of the pandemic. But his 5-year exemption into this championship is running out. His bomb-and-gouge strategy could come in handy this week at Valhalla, so perhaps he contends for a second straight major.

5. Cameron Smith

Exemption: 2022 Open Champion

One of the best putters in the world, Cameron Smith, won the Claret Jug at St. Andrews two years ago and can play in the PGA Championship through 2027. He has the game to contend anywhere and most recently tied for sixth at Augusta National.

6. Tyrrell Hatton

Exemption: Top 15 finish at 2023 PGA Championship

Thanks to a final round 3-under 67 at Oak Hill a year ago, Hatton made this field with a top-15 finish. But he would have gained entry a couple of other ways, too. He played in the Ryder Cup and the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) has him as the 18th-ranked player in the world. Jumping from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf in January—along with his top 10 finish at Augusta—has kept his solid ranking intact.

Tyrrell Hatton, PGA Championship

Tyrrell Hatton during a Wednesday practice round at Valhalla.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

7. Dustin Johnson

Exemption: 2020 Masters Champion

Like DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson’s exemption into this championship is running out. His victory at Augusta in the fall of 2020 awarded him entry into the PGA through 2025, so he must win another major to extend it. Unfortunately for him, his game has not looked sharp lately.

8. Adrian Meronk

Exemption: Special Invite

Adrian Meronk, the reigning DP World Tour Player of the Year, received a special invitation from the PGA of America to compete this week. He tied for 40th in his PGA Championship debut one year ago and hopes to improve upon that mark at Valhalla.

9. Phil Mickelson

Exemption: Past Champion (2005, 2021)

Luckily for Phil Mickelson, he does not have to worry about whether or not he can play in the PGA Championship. He will always have an invite. But the one major he will have to worry about is the U.S. Open, where he has finished runner-up a record six times. His exemption into that championship expires in 2026.

Phil Mickelson, PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson celebrates at the 2021 PGA Championship.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

10. Talor Gooch

Exemption: Special Invite

Talor Gooch missed the cut at both Oak Hill and Royal Liverpool a season ago. But his strong play on LIV Golf led the PGA of America to invite him back for his fifth straight PGA Championship appearance. His best finish came in 2022, when he tied for 20th in his native Oklahoma.

11. Dean Burmester

Exemption: Special Invite

Dean Burmester, who hails from South Africa, won twice in his home country in late 2023 and then triumphed again at LIV Golf Miami in April. His two wins at the Joburg Open and the Investec South African Championship led the PGA of America to invite him. Burmester will make his eighth career start in a major.

12. Lucas Herbert

Exemption: Special Invite

Before Australian Lucas Herbert tied for 40th at Oak Hill last year, he won the ISPS Handa Championship in Japan. He has not won anywhere since, but because he jumped to LIV Golf at the beginning of the season, his world ranking has not completely plummeted. Currently ranked 90th in the OWGR, the PGA of America invited Herbert to Valhalla, where he will play in his sixth straight PGA Championship.

Lucas Herbert, LIV Golf, Singapore

Lucas Herbert at LIV Golf Singapore.
Photo by Lionel Ng/Getty Images

13. Patrick Reed

Exemption: Special Invite

Patrick Reed finished in solo fourth at the International Series Macau on the Asian Tour in March and then tied for 12th at Augusta National the following month. He also tied for fourth at the 2023 Masters and capped off the calendar year with a strong finish at the Indonesian Masters.

14. David Puig

Exemption: Special Invite

David Puig has made it a priority to play all over the world as much as he can. The extra effort and travel have paid dividends, as the Spaniard won the International Series Singapore this past October and then conquered the Malaysian Open in February. Since then, Puig has recorded three top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour and two top 15s on LIV Golf. This week will mark his first start at the PGA Championship.

David Puig, PGA Championship, LIV Golf

David Puig during a Wednesday practice around ahead of the 2024 PGA Championship.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

15. Andy Ogletree

Exemption: Top 3 International Federation Ranking

Andy Ogletree earned a spot on LIV Golf this season because he finished atop the Asian Tour standings in 2023. That also put him among the top three of the International Federation Rankings, a separate criteria the PGA of America uses to determine the field for its championship. Like Puig, the 2024 PGA Championship will be Ogletree’s first.

16. Martin Kaymer

Exemption: Past Champion (2010)

After missing the cut in four straight PGA Championships, Martin Kaymer missed last year’s edition at Oak Hill for undisclosed reasons. Nevertheless, Kaymer is back in the field this week by way of his victory at Whistling Straits in 2010.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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