To the surprise of many, twelve of the eighteen LIV players who were invited to Augusta for The Masters made the cut. On top of that, three finished in the Top 5 (Phil and Brooks Koepka tied for runner-up, while Patrick Reed landed a T4). Young Joaquin Niemann also had a solid week, finishing among the Top 20 (T16).
The big story of the 2023 Masters was Koepka, dominating the field through the first three days of rain interrupted play. When the third round was halted through 6 holes on Saturday, Brooks appeared to be unstoppable in pursuit of his 5th major championship, standing at 13 under par with a 4-shot lead over Jon Rahm.
And as play resumed on Sunday, with both Phil and Pat Reed rocketing up the leaderboard, it looked like the PGA Tour’s worst nightmare was about to unfold.
The golf pundits had universally been saying that the LIV players would have a rough time because they were not used to stiff competition, and LIV tournaments were only 3 rounds. Phil (at 52 years old) closed with a fourth round 65 and Reed fired a 68—both finishing in the top 5 and putting a stopper on that theory.
Although Brooks faltered on Sunday and Rahm was able to overtake him, he exhibited a degree of humility and class worthy of a four-time major champion. There is no question that Koepka is back, and you can expect to see him among the leaders at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in May.
LIV Power Ranking Update
Players have been rated and ranked on the basis of events played, average finish, wins, runner up, Top-5 and Top-10 finishes–as well as performance at the 2022 and 2023 major championships (LIV Player Rankings).
While seventy-five players have participated in one or more tournaments since the inaugural event in London last year, we’ve included only the top forty-eight. Not surprisingly, Dustin Johnson has dominated pretty much from day one. With his T4 at The Masters, however, Patrick Reed continues to move closer to DJ, and Brooks Koepka is beginning to bull his way toward the top with his second LIV win and runner-up at Augusta National.
No. 1 Dustin Johnson: 81.9 Rating
After opening with an 8th place finish at the initial event in London, Dustin recorded a T3 in at Pumkin Ridge Portland, a T2 in Bedminster and then won the fourth event in Boston. In the ten stroke play tournaments held thus far, DJ has recorded a win, a runner-up, three top 5’s and two top 10’s with an average finish of 9.1.
While DJ made the cut at Augusta, his T48 finish was very forgettable—and allowed Reed and Koepka to close the gap quite a bit in the LIV Player Rankings.
No. 2 Patrick Reed: 67.6 Rating
Reed recorded a T3 in his first LIV event in Portland, and finished among the top 5 in four of the ten events he’s played (including a T3 at Orange County National in March). Patrick is also among the top echelon for consistency with an average finish of 12.4.
On the heels of his Top 5 finish at the Masters, Reed will look to carry the LIV banner through each of the remaining majors in 2023.
No. 3 Brooks Koepka: 67.0 Rating
After a slow start in 2022, Brooks recorded a T8 at Bangkok and followed that up with a win in his next event (Jeddah). After mediocre finishes in the first two events of 2023, Koepka recorded his second win in Orlando last week—making him the only LIV player with multiple wins thus far.
While his Sunday stumble at Augusta was no doubt a major let down for Brooks, he certainly sent a message that he’s far from done—and Rahm will have his hands full at the PGA this year.
Cameron Smith: No. 7–60.6 Rating
After a fast start, Cameron Smith has tumbled from No. 2 at the conclusion of ‘22 to No. 7 after finishing 24th at The Gallery Golf Club in Tucson, 26th in Orlando, and a disappointing T34 at The Masters.
He will be a force at the PGA, however, should he brandish the wand as he did at The Open Championship last year.
Joaquin Niemann: No. 9–57.3 Rating
At 24 years old, Joaquin Niemann is one of the brightest young stars in golf. After joining the PGA Tour at 19, Niemann recorded 22 Top-10’s including 2 wins in 5 years–making the cut in just under 80% of the events he entered while reaching the Tour Championship in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Joaquin had an excellent Masters with a T16 finish, but we won’t see him at another major until the U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club in June—where you can expext him to make some noise with his precision ball striking.
Mito Pereira: No. 12—55.3 Rating
Virtually unknown in the U.S. prior to bursting onto the scene with a T3 at the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Pereira’s outstanding play came as no surprise to golf fans in his native Chile. After winning multiple junior titles, including a victory on the Chilean Professional Tour in 2013 as an Amateur, Mito climbed to number 5 in the official World Amateur Golf Rankings in 2015 at twenty years old.
Mito made the cut and had a solid week at Augusta, and we’ll see him at the PGA Championship in May. Like his fellow Chilean, Joaquin Niemann, look for Mito to have a solid season at the majors in 2023.
Phil: No. 37–34.6 Rating
While Mickelson’s LIV career could only be described as a lead balloon thus far, leave it to Phil to pull a giant rabbit out of his hat when you least expect it. The stunning 65 that he fashioned in the final round at Augusta was a flashback to his incredible PGA win in 2021.
While the Masters runner-up finish propelled Phil from No. 46 to No. 37 in the LIV Player Rankings, it also appears to have ignited a flame as we head toward the PGA (Phil fired a solid 2 under round of 70 in the first round at Adelaide in Australia this week, and followed up with 65 in the second round to move into the Top 10).
Could Phil pull off another bit of magic at Oak Hill? We’ll have to wait and see….
The Masters: Summary
Brooks Koepka T2
Phil Mickelson T2
Patrick Reed T4
Joaquin Nieman T16
Harold Varner III T29
Cameron Smith T34
Talor Gooch T34
Abraham Ancer T39
Mito Pareira T43
Dustin Johnson T48
Thomas Pieters T48
Charl Schwartzel T50
Sergio Garcia MC
Bryson DeChambeau MC
Jason Kokrak MC
Bubba Watson MC
Louis Oosthuizen WD
Kevin Na WD
2023 Upcoming LIV Schedule
Adelaide The Grange Golf Club, Australia (April 21-23)
Singapore Sentosa Golf Club (April 28-30)
Tulsa Cedar Ridge Country Club (May 12-14)
DC Trump National Golf Club, Washington (May 26-28)
Valderrama Real Club, Spain (June 30-July 2)