US golfer Talor Gooch hailed a “heck of a year” after clinching the LIV Golf Individual Championship and a £17m windfall despite losing a play-off in Jeddah on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka beat Gooch at the second extra hole to claim his second LIV Golf title of a stellar season for the US PGA Championship winner and Masters runner-up.
But second place was enough for Gooch to finish top of the player standings after rivals Cameron Smith and Bryson DeChambeau failed to mount a challenge in Saudi Arabia.
“It would have been really sweet to beat Brooks and really cap it off like that, but it was a heck of a year and I’m very very proud of it,” said Gooch, who won three LIV Golf events in 2023.
“I just think it’s a validation to the golfer that I am, to the hard work we’ve put in for years and years. This game will beat you up but we’ve done a good job year after year continuing to improve and learning from mistakes.”
Gooch’s Individual Championship earned him a £15m bonus in addition to £1.85m for second place in Jeddah. Added to £13m of previous winnings, it took his season total to $37m (£30m).
That is more than four times the total of £7m he won in five years on the PGA Tour before joining the lucrative Saudi-backed challenger circuit in 2022.
Smith, who led the standings heading into the last individual scoring event, finished 25th in Jeddah but still banked a £6.6m bonus for finishing second overall.
DeChambeau dropped to fourth after finishing 16th. Koepka took his place on the season podium and bagged a bonus of £3.3m, doubling his weekend earnings.
His brother Chase Koepka faces exile from the tour, however, after finishing in the relegation zone along with Jediah Morgan, James Piot and Sihwan Kim.
Scott Vincent’s fourth place in Jeddah, behind Harold Varner III, lifted him into the top 24 and assured his place in LIV Golf next year.
Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs won the team competition but it was not enough to earn one of four first-round byes at next week’s season closing Team Championship.