Written by
Bryan Mullen, LIV Golf Correspondent
Mar 05 2024
- 4 MIN
Gooch hot entering Hong Kong

Team: Smash Golf Club
Previous event team finish: 3rd at LIV Golf Jeddah
Season-long team standings: 2nd
Top finisher from previous event: Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak (both T-6)
Fun stat: Talor Gooch leads LIV Golf in scrambling (77.55%) through three events.


Another week, another podium.

Smash Golf Club continued its impressive start to 2024 and remains a top team to watch whenever and wherever they tee it up. This week it’s LIV Golf Hong Kong, where the confidence remains high for every team member.

Coming off a podium finish at LIV Golf Jeddah where Smash GC finished third, the team can look back to the first three events to add any mojo it might need. In short, don’t overthink anything because it’s working. The team won LIV Golf Las Vegas two events ago, and last week was only five back of eventual winner Crushers GC in Jeddah.

The depth and overall talent of the team has been on full display. All eyes are always on Captain Brooks Koepka, but it’s been the full lineup that has put the team in rare air. Take Jeddah as an example. Talor Gooch, the reigning Individual Champion of 2023, and Jason Kokrak each finished T-6, with Koepka finishing just one back of them for a T-12. Out of their nine combined rounds, none of them shot over par.

And while Graeme McDowell wasn’t on top of his game in the first two rounds, he closed with a 66 in tough scoring conditions when all scores counted.

That brings us to this week at Hong Kong Golf Club, which at first glance might look to be a birdie show due to its length, but there is danger everywhere. The course measures approximately 6,700 yards, but water will come into play on nearly half of the holes. This is also a tree-lined course with tight fairways, so there is trouble on even the mildest of off-line drives.

A big key will not only be accuracy off the tee, but on approach shots. The greens are large, but there are severe slopes everywhere, making pin-point iron play a must.

All of that lines up nicely for a team that features players whose strengths suit Hong Kong Golf Club. Gooch is a good example as he leads LIV Golf in scrambling, and that could be key considering the greens and surroundings demand creativity.

Something else to keep in mind is McDowell’s experience. He has competed in the Hong Kong Open several times on this course and has two top-10 finishes, including a sixth-place finish in 2007 and fifth-place finish in 2010.