'If I Play, I Have A Chance To Win' - LIV Golf Captain Says He's Good Enough To Challenge In The Majors

The Chilean believes he has the game to challenge for Majors - as he continues his bid to reach Augusta

Joaquin Niemann takes a shot in the first round of the 2023 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

LIV Golf's Joaquin Niemann is looking to take advantage of his DP World Tour opportunities to play his way into The Masters and the two other Majors he's not currently qualified for - as he believes he has the game to win one.

Niemann shot a three-under 69 in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic, where the Chilean is taking advantage of his sparkling form Down Under to try and get back into all of the Majors.

Winning the Australian Open gave Niemann a spot at the Open Championship at Royal Troon this year, and also automatic DP World Tour membership to aid his bid to make the other three Majors.

It means that despite being Torque GC captain in the LIV Golf League he can play in European events such as in Dubai as he looks to play his way back inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The 25-year-old just failed to make the end-of-year top 50 despite his win in Australia, but if he can get back in, and stay there, by the end of March then he can return to Augusta.

And if Niemann can get into all of golf's biggest events - he believes he has the game to be challenging for honors.

“Obviously my goal is to get to the Masters,” Niemann said. “I’m one of a few of the players on LIV that don’t have a spot in the Majors. I know I want to be there.

"I know I want to play in those four events and I know if I play there, I have a chance to win. My goal for now is to get there.”

Getting ranking points is a big debate point around LIV Golf, but although he has previously said the current situation is unfair, Niemann said in Dubai that he's not frustrated by it.

In fact, Niemann says he knew what he was getting into when he signed up to LIV, and instead of sulking about it he's busy trying to play his way into the Majors and prove how good he is.

“It’s not frustrating for me, it’s just nothing to do with me,” Niemann added. “I obviously took the decision to join LIV and I knew it was going to happen. There was going to be no ranking. I think I deserve to be in the Majors.

"Obviously world ranking does not show that but I think if I had to play every week with world rankings, I am going to be in the Majors. But it is what it is and that’s why I’m here.”

Niemann has played in 19 Majors so far in his career, making the cut 12 times with just one top 20 - with that being a T16 at last year's Masters which represented his best finish.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.