LIV Golf’s Joaquin Niemann falls short in U.S. Open qualifying, despite strong season

Joaquin Niemann, widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, will not tee it up at the U.S. Open this year.

Niemann, who DataGolf has as the ninth-ranked player in the world, carded a pair of 1-under 71s in final qualifying, thus missing a playoff by a stroke. A double bogey on the 15th hole—his 33rd hole of the day—sealed his fate. The Chilean played at The Bear’s Club in Florida, which awarded five spots into next week’s field at Pinehurst No. 2.

Matt Kuchar shot 7-under over 36 holes, thus earning medalist honors at The Bear’s Club. The 45-year-old Kuchar has played in three of the last four U.S. Opens, as he failed to qualify for The Country Club in 2022. He last made a U.S. Open cut in 2019, when he tied for 16th.

Daniel Berger, who will play his first major in two years, finished one stroke behind Kuchar at 6-under. Berger missed the back half of 2022 and all of 2023 due to a back injury, as he last appeared in a major at Brookline. Golf fans everywhere will welcome Berger back with open arms when he returns to the biggest of stages next week.

Dean Burmester, another LIV golfer who finished at 6-under, took one of the other three spots in Florida. Burmester defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff at LIV Golf Miami ahead of The Masters.

Luke Clanton, one of the best collegiate players in the country from Florida State, finished at 5-under to claim the fourth spot. Then Willie Mack III fended off Brendan Valdes and Thomas Ponder in a 3-for-1 playoff. All three of these players finished at 3-under, one above Niemann, Steven Chervony, and Anirban Lahiri.

Not all hope is lost for Valdes and Ponder, as they will be two alternates for the championship.

Joaquin Niemann, U.S. Open

Joaquin Niemann lines up a putt at the 2023 U.S. Open.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

But Niemann does not have that luxury.

Despite winning two LIV Golf events earlier this year and finishing within the top five at the International Series Oman and Hero Dubai Desert Classic, Niemann will not play in the season’s third major. He made the cut at Augusta National and Valhalla but never was a factor. It’s also worth noting that Niemann won the Australian Open in Sydney this past December.

He will not gain an exemption via the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) either, as the top 60 players in the OWGR—not otherwise exempt—will receive invites on Jun. 10. Niemann is currently 90th in the OWGR, which does not award points at LIV Golf events.

Nevertheless, the entire golfing world knows Niemann’s strong play and pedigree. But he also proved that qualifying for the U.S. Open is rather difficult—perhaps the most challenging thing to do in all of golf.

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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