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Five OSU golfers return to Oklahoma to play in Broken Arrow LIV Tour event

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BROKEN ARROW - The LIV Golf Tour will showcase with five former Cowboys.

Starting Friday, Cedar Ridge Country Club is hosting LIV Tour, a new golf tour competing with the PGA. In the field of 48 golfers are Charles Howell III, Talor Gooch, Matthew Wolff, Peter Uihlein and Eugenio Chacarra – all former OSU Cowboy golfers.

For the five from OSU, their beginnings as pro golfers began long before arriving in Stillwater, but the program is what shaped them into becoming pros.

Howell III, an OSU golfer from 1998-2000, said he thinks they chose to play in Stillwater because of the golf legacy at OSU.

“I think all of us went to OSU because of the people that played there before us,” Howell III said. “I looked up to Bob Tway and Scott Verplank and Willie Wood and that whole generation. 

“I think we all chose to go to Oklahoma State for one reason, and that's golf.”

Uihlein said he chose OSU because his dad told him the program holds up to a certain college basketball blue blood.

“I grew up a pretty big Duke basketball fan, and I remember sitting around the couch asking my dad, what the equivalent to Duke basketball for college golf was, and he said Okie State,” Uihlein said. “At that point, I kind of became a fan, and that's where I wanted to go. Love the tradition, love the history, love the excellence that OSU brings.”

This is the first LIV Tour event in Oklahoma. Nobody thought the LIV Tour, with events in cities like Singapore, London and Chicago, would find its way to Oklahoma. 

Gooch and Howell III were determined to get an event in the state because of the recent success from the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa.

“Talor and I had a conversation back in October about a LIV event coming to Oklahoma,” Howell III said. “I relied on Talor, who's from here, who knows the golf courses in the areas better than I do, and that kind of started our conversations with those that help with scheduling and approached a few different clubs here. I think what it boils down to is that Oklahoma are massive sports fans, and massive golf fans."

It was also important for Howell III to influence an Oklahoma LIV event because of the number of connections.

“We have six players on LIV that played college golf here; you have Abraham Ancer at OU and then five of us at OSU. That's one-eighth of the entire Tour that has a tie here,” Howell III said. “I thought that was an important deal. You couldn't write a better script with Talor winning the previous two events coming back to his home state.”

Gooch, a Midwest City native, enters with individual wins at the last two LIV Tour events totaling $8 million.

A homecoming along with a rise in play for Gooch is making this event a must-watch for golf fans.

Gooch said he’s focusing on the opportunity to play in his home state and the rule he set for himself when he steps foot on any course.

“It's a blessing to have an event here in Oklahoma as often as we can, and so I want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to make it a great week, not only for the players or the fans, the media, everyone in between,” Gooch said. “This golf course is not easy. Golf is not easy. None of us want to show up and not play well, and at the end of the day, that's the most important part. I've said it a few times now. I call it the rule of 67. You focus on shooting 67s, everything will take care of itself.”

The LIV Tour is different from the PGA Tour. There are teams of four, 54 holes in three days and much more money to disperse.

The LIV Tour is a controversial topic in the golf world, because of the funding and the way the PGA Tour responded to the creation of its competitor.

The funding for the new tour is Saudi Arabian-based, which, according to Golf Monthly, The LIV Tour, “in its simplest form many believe LIV Golf to be sportswashing to cover up Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record.”

Since, there’s been a battle between the LIV and PGA, determining if the LIV Tour should count toward World Golf Rankings for major championships, such as The Masters and The U.S. Open.

“The World Golf Ranking system, obviously I think it needs some tweaking. I think we've put together good enough fields and events that are deserving of World Ranking points,” Howell III said. “Obviously that starts a big debate and a longer one, but I think we're deserving of World Ranking points, and if not, then I think there needs to be some other form of criteria, not just for me but for the next generation, next guys coming up to play their way into major championships.”