Home Estate Planning Niemann vows to prove major worth after winning LIV Golf opener at Mayakoba

Niemann vows to prove major worth after winning LIV Golf opener at Mayakoba

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Joaquin Niemann says his major exile is fuelling a purple patch after beginning the LIV Golf season with a play-off victory in Mayakoba, Mexico.

Niemann overcame Sergio Garcia at the fourth extra hole, after both had finished on 12 under par, to claim his first individual title in the lucrative LIV Golf League.

It was the Chilean’s second win in three events, after success at the Australian Open and a top-five at the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour during the LIV Golf off-season.

The Saudi-backed circuit’s ongoing battle for world ranking points means Niemann is set to miss the Masters and is not certain to make the US PGA Championship or US Open.

But the 25-year-old insists he is using the situation as motivation to prove that he remains among the game’s best players, regardless of his major absences.

“I have a different mindset this year. It hurt me not being in the majors and I think also helped me to get motivation to earn my spot back in the majors, into the elite players,” he said.

“It helped me start working harder, working with a purpose. I think it’s paying off, and I just want to keep telling myself that I’m capable of doing this, of winning tournaments.

“This is a good way to prove that, and I don’t want to stop working the way I am. I just want to keep going.”

Niemann emerged victorious from a battle between Spanish-speakers at Mayakoba, with Jon Rahm just missing out on the play-off on his LIV Golf debut.

Masters champion Rahm, however, had the consolation of leading his expansion franchise Legion VIII, which includes England’s Tyrrell Hatton, to the team title.

“It’s very nice, in a day in which in any normal tournament I probably would have been upset at my finish, to actually have something to celebrate,” said the Spaniard. 

“That is one of the big reasons why I decided to transition [to LIV], to share the stage with those three guys, to share the golf course with all the other teams, and compete for something else is what it’s all about. It means a lot.”

Hatton was a last-minute addition to the LIV Golf circuit last week but made his mark in Mexico with a final-round 64 which propelled his team to victory.

“I didn’t know what to expect. For all of us, these are new experiences,” he said. “I really enjoyed the week, and winning as a team is good fun, and hopefully we can keep that going.”

Rahm’s Legion VIII team, featuring Hatton, won the team title on their LIV Golf debut

Niemann, who shot a course record 59 in the first round, got off to a difficult start on Sunday when he was penalised two shots for an infringement the previous day.

It slashed his overnight four-shot lead in half but he steadied himself to card a final round of 70 and finish tied with Garcia, whose 66 set up a play-off in fading light.

Rahm dropped shots in his last two holes to finish on 10 under with Dean Burmester, with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka further shot back.

Hatton ended on seven under alongside Cameron Smith and Louis Oosthuizen, one better than fellow Englishmen Richard Bland and Paul Casey.

The second season proper of the LIV Golf League continues this week when the tour heads to Las Vegas Country Club.

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