On Friday night, LIV Golf announced that players would be allowed to wear shorts during competition rounds, starting immediately. This rule has needed to be adjusted in professional golf for quite some time and of the 48 players in the field it was great to see that 40% took advantage of the new rule and wore shorts.
Phil Mickelson was one of the 19 players who wore shorts Saturday. “This is a long time coming in the game of golf,” Mickelson said. “I think it just takes a disruptor like LIV to get things done. They’ve been leading in many ways, and I’m very happy that they are leading in this particular area… I have a lot of friends on Tour and I hope for their sake the Tour follows. I think it’s good for golf. I think it’s great for the players. It feels good. It’s more comfortable, especially when we start getting into some hot temperatures, and I just think it’s a great thing.”
At the top of the leaderboard Talor Gooch and Dustin Johnson are seeking to become the first LIV Golf 4 Aces GC individual champions in Boston where Gooch enters the final round at The International’s Oaks Course with a one-stroke lead at 12 under after shooting a 5-under 65. Johnson, the 4 Aces captain, is in solo third at 10 under after his 7-under 63.
Sandwiched in between them is LIV Golf newcomer Joaquin Niemann, the Torque GC captain who matched Gooch’s 65 and is at 11 under.
In the team standings, 4 Aces GC is at 22 under and has a three-stroke lead over Phil Mickelson’s Hy Flyers GC, with Iron Heads GC another stroke back.
Both Gooch and Johnson have finished inside the top 10 in each of the first three events and are in good shape to maintain those streaks. But they would like to claim both the individual and team trophies on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t say we’re in control,” Gooch said. “We’re one bad day away from not getting another win. We’ve got to go out and play some more great golf again. … I know there’s a bunch of great golfers, and we can’t show up and expect to win.”
Gooch, who shot a 63 in the opening round, started Saturday with a bogey before playing flawless golf the rest of the way, missing just one fairway and two greens.
“Both days have been really good,” Gooch said. “I’ve been able to get off the tee really well, and when I do that, especially out here, you’re going to have opportunities.”
Johnson, the two-time major winner, has been consistent in his first 10 rounds on LIV Golf, but had not gone really low until Saturday. The 63 not only was his low round at a LIV event but matches the low score of any player in this inaugural season.
“I’ve been playing solid I feel like every week,” Johnson said. “Each round I’ve felt like I’m doing the right things. Eventually it’s all going to come together. Even today was good at times, but still made quite a few mistakes. The game is definitely in good form, and I like the direction it’s heading in.”
Niemann also had chances to go lower but missed several short putts, including two lip outs on consecutive holes. Still, he’s settled in nicely after joining LIV earlier this week.
“I’m playing my best golf,” said the 19th-ranked world player from Chile. “Hit the ball amazing off the tee, hit pretty close with the wedges. I’m actually putting really good. I just can’t quite see the breaks. Those were a lot of good putts that I hit … If I can make a few putts tomorrow, it’s going to be a good round.”
In the previous two events, the 4 Aces GC has won by a cumulative 15 strokes. With three counting scores in the final round, their chasers are hoping to put some heat on the all-American foursome.
“They’re playing some good golf,” said Mickelson, whose team was led Saturday by the duel 66s of Bernd Wiesberger and newcomer Cameron Tringale. “They have a very deep team. It’s going to be an exciting day tomorrow because you’ve got a bunch of great names fighting it out for the individual title and you’ve got three or four teams that are right in there that with three scores counting can make a big move.”
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