Written by
Bryan Mullen, LIV Golf Contributor
Jan 31 2024
- 4 min
Gooch Smash Bynder

Team: Smash Golf Club

Members: Captain Brooks Koepka, Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak, Graeme McDowell

2023 Team Finish: 10th

2023 Individual Standings: Gooch (1st with RangeGoats GC), Koepka (3rd), Kokrak (23rd), McDowell (42nd)

LIV Golf Mayakoba Preview: Smash Golf Club made quite a splash this offseason. Now it’s time to see if podium champagne showers follow.

Captain Brooks Koepka worked a trade with RangeGoats Golf Club to acquire the League’s hottest player, Talor Gooch, in exchange for Matthew Wolff, who never quite found his footing in 2023. With that, Smash GC immediately became the team to watch this season. That’s what happens when the captain is a reigning major champion, has won five total majors, and his latest addition dominated LIV Golf in 2023 with three victories on the way to winning the season-long Individual Championship. Add in the always steady Jason Kokrak and another major champion in Graeme McDowell, who comes over from Cleeks Golf Club, and Smash GC should see immediate improvements.

“Brooks is one of the best players of this generation,” Gooch said. “He’s the face of the team and I’m excited to be there to hopefully make him the second-best scorer on the team a bunch over the next few years.”

Koepka finished third in the individual standings in 2023 and won twice. He is a force, but in team golf, others need to do more than just chip in occasionally. Enter Gooch, who has already demonstrated the ability to lead a team, and if he and Koepka are on top of their games in an event, watch out.

But there is also pressure on Kokrak and McDowell, who could be the determining factors between the team having a good season or a great one. With top teams mainly relying on three stellar scores, one of them will have to do their part. Kokrak is reliable and rarely hurts his team. Five top-12 finishes last season is exactly what is needed this time around. McDowell is a steadying force with experience and is regarded as one of the best teammates in the game. And he still has game, as evidenced by a 12th-place finish at LIV Golf Bedminster.

With the start of the 2024 season, it’s all come full circle now for Koepka and Gooch since they first discussed being on the same team at LIV Golf Andalucia last season. Mayakoba will be an intriguing test to see if Smash GC can come out swinging, and if last season is any indication, it will. Gooch and McDowell finished tied for 11th here last season, and Koepka is always a threat to hoist a trophy. But regardless of how the team finishes this week, it’s safe to say it will be one to watch at the start of each event.