Joaquín Niemann: “In the end, no one will approach the PGA if it continues like this”

The nation’s greatest golfer has had a year of change. He left the North American circuit to move on to the emerging LIV Tour, whose million-dollar numbers have led to big names including the Chilean. Here he talks about his experience and his efforts to add Mito Pereira. “I would love to bring it, I do everything I can,” he says.

Joaquin Niemann (Santiago, November 7, 1998) 2022 has been a year full of emotions and changes. From being one of the most promising stars of the PGA, which he confirmed with his brilliant victory at the Genesis Invitational in February, it became one of the commercial successes of the brand new LIV Golf Tour. The current world-ranked No. 22 shook the world with his arrival, in exchange for $75 million, and left the US contest without its biggest Latin American figure.

Despite the fact that the new circuit, financed by the Saudi public investment fund, is played in three rounds and does not award points for the world ranking, the Talagantino is convinced that this scenario will change. At least his fame hasn’t diminished one iota and proof of that is The Match, the charity show he played with Mito Pereira at La Dehesa Golf Club, where the national athlete was besieged by more than 1,500 fans who waited patiently for him in search of a photo or an autograph . In the midst of this maelstrom, Joaco took the time to analyze his season with La Tercera.

His vision of the year is quite particular and clarifies it from the outset. “For me, it’s not how I spent a year or how it was, but what I’m trying to improve day by day. And yes, looking back at the start of the year, I was able to win at Riviera after having had a good season on the PGA Tour. “, he specifies.

In this sense, he agrees that his arrival in the new league meant a huge turnaround for his dynamic and successful career. “Moving to the LIV Tour was a really big change for my career,” he says, while recounting how things started to happen and how he was disenchanted with the always-on-top World Tour: “I always dreamed of being on the PGA Tour, and little by little things were changing. I realized that there are many things golf can do to grow globally, not just in the United States, and the LIV Tour is a platform that is precisely designed to expand golf to all continents and not just in the United States. . And that’s what motivated me the most, and even more so with the group of people who went there, like Jordan Spieth or Dustin Johnson…”.

If something in particular opened your eyes? It is an answer that he thinks himself with a touch of nostalgia and also of hope. “There are a lot of things behind that you don’t see and you realize that when you’re on the PGA Tour. When making the decision, economically it’s very good; I can plan a much more orderly schedule; I can better organize my training, vacation and competition times, and be part of a team …Because I’ve always liked to play as a team and at the PGA it was only individual. Winning as a team is what motivates me the most,” he says.

Another of the great complications he encountered the nascent super league is unable to score points for the world rankings, which means that the “rebels” vetoed by the PGA must seek alternatives so as not to disappear from the list which, among other things, fixes entry to the Olympic Games. Despite the successive slams they have received from the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), Niemann is confident that this denial will soon pass and that there will be no restrictions for anyone who has decided to cross paths to join. the new proposal.

Joaquin Niemann of Chile watches his shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at The Country Club, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Brookline, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

We already have all the criteria to have a world ranking at LIV. If they didn’t, it’s because of a pure monopoly there, political issues for which they don’t release it… But all the criteria we already have. We have the best players in the world on the Tour and if they don’t, in the end they are going to look bad,” he said emphatically.

His conviction is such that he believes that He will have no trouble getting the points needed to be in big events, like Paris 2024, and he assures that there will be a change of heart from the highest levels of golf. “Yes, he will reach,” he said. “This year there will be a world ranking and for me that’s not a problem. Yes or yes we are going to play the Olympic Games, ”he underlines.

He’s also not giving up on his biggest dream: to be world number one. , which he undertook to specify in each interview he offers. And, even, he thinks that his current planning can help him a lot in this goal, because he will have more rest. “Still intact. You have to play the majors well, have fewer tournaments. Every tournament you play will be more important, because there will be more points. So yes, that dream is still intact, ”he reinforces.

Another of the questions raised by the change of circuit of the pupil of Eduardo Miquel concerns the evolution of relations with the PGA and other players. “Obviously Jay Monahan (the commissioner), always grateful for all the opportunities he gave us,” he says. And he continues, in a more critical tone:Everyone fought hard to make it happen, and in the end there’s no one to thank among those on the PGA Tour, but it’s quite the opposite: how can they help you more? I think the PGA Tour was a bit lacking, but the relationship with all the players is still good. Some disagreed, but ultimately it was a decision that had already been made.

The best Chilean golfer in history defends LIV from criticism of his game system. que también obligó a una respuesta de sus padres en las redes sociales, respaldando la decisión de son son. This is also why Joaco tries to establish some principles that differentiate this competition from the American circuit, and specifies that “the LIV tries to attract a lot of young people. The average age of people who watch the PGA Tour daily is over 60, and to grow golf, there needs to be more of a focus on kids, under 30 and under, and the LIV platform is focusing on that, organizing events on the pitch, playing music and DJing after tournaments, in order to attract more young people. In the end, no one is going to approach a PGA Tour if it continues like this… And there, they are looking for different forms in the LIV, but the art is always on the court”.

Currently, the golfer is in Chile preparing for a challenging 2023. “Now I will try to rest during the holidays, Christmas and New Years, then go back in mid-January to train again in the United States,” he explains.

Convince Mito

Since the beginning of September, when he played his first tournament, there is no doubt that Niemann has fallen in love with this new millionaire circuit. However, he wouldn’t like to be the only Chilean there. In fact, his great friend and training partner, Mito Pereira, has been tempted for several months to join a format that has more and more Latinos.

Currently, the native of Pirque is the most outstanding from this part of the world in the PGA. He is ranked 45th in the standings, after a great year when he was on the verge of being the first Chilean to win a major, something that only faded on the last hole. So far, he has preferred to remain uncertain about his future. However, Niemann confesses his attempts to get him into his league. “I would love to bring him in, I’m doing my best, but in the end it’s his decision,” he reveals.

He also doesn’t stop to think when asked if he really sees Pereira changing his scene. “I imagine him playing the LIV. It would be ideal if he made the squad, but that’s not known yet. I hope. For me, at least, it would be ideal for him to be in the team.”

A few meters further and a few minutes later, during the prize-giving ceremony of the event -which Niemann won-, they joke precisely about the differences, in a very funny dialogue, in which Joaco takes care of underlining the virtues of this format, such as less wear and tear and party atmosphere offered by the super league. Also, she tells him that she misses him. Pereira nods, with an impish smile and flirtatiously neither confirms nor excludes the possibility of joining.

The next few weeks will be decisive as to whether the LIV stays with the two best Chilean golfers in history, leaving the PGA virtually without top-level Latino representatives, or if the native of the province of the Cordillera remains in search of his first title on the prestigious North American circuit and, why not, of a revenge in the PGA Championship, the middle finger that he caressed and which drowned in a fateful lagoon after that last flag went out.

Meanwhile, Joaco takes the opportunity to enjoy the holidays, in which he also had time to devote himself to the automobile, his other great passion, and reaping the rewards of a meteoric rise in golf, which today makes him the highest-paid Chilean athlete of all time, at just 24 years old, in a sport quite lively for its exponents.

Follow at El Deportivo:

Source: Latercera

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.