Hugo Costa

Updated Sunday, February 25, 2024-21:35

  • Chronicle Niemann beats Sergio García and Jon Rahm in darkness

It has been almost 30,000 kilometers traveled in less than 20 days: from Arizona to Cancun, from Cancun to Las Vegas, from Las Vegas to Malaysia and from Malaysia to Oman.

It is not surprising that even when the clock has not even struck nine o'clock at night,

David Puig

has to make an effort to keep his eyes open on the other side of the screen.

At only 22 years old he is the new hot boy in Spanish golf.

He is playing his second season at LIV Golf and what he is achieving should be included in the dictionary as an explanation of the word “machada”.

Puig achieved his second professional victory in Malaysia just a few days ago.

The Spaniard won the IRS Prima Malaysian Open, after a marathon journey and being a foot and a half outside the cut.

"On Friday, with four holes left, I needed two birdies to make the cut and I made it," he explains.

What followed was an extraordinary ode to golf, a unique recital with 18 birdies in 36 holes without any errors.

A wild pace of birdies every two holes, which in addition to the victory, gave him a very special prize.

«I made 20 birdies in the last 40 holes, 20 birdies and 20 pars is hard to believe.

I know that I have the ability to throw very low laps, I have done it during the preseason and last year, but to have two in a row and under those circumstances was something very nice.

It is the fruit of all the preseason work," adds the Spaniard.

And the real reason Puig put himself through 14,000 kilometers to compete in Malaysia was not simply to play in an Asian Circuit tournament;

At stake, in addition, were three places for the Open Championship at Royal Troon, the third major of the year, which will be played in July and for which Puig already has his place.

The balance between the LIV and the world ranking

«I am young and I have a lot of room for improvement, I have the level and I have all the desire in the world to be able to play those majors.

The objective was very clear: if there was an option to play my second major, I was going to do everything possible to be there," adds Puig, who already qualified for last year's US Open in the previous rounds and finished among the forty. top.

But David, like all LIV Golf players, has to get out of his golden cage to achieve world ranking points.

Furthermore, the Catalan started from scratch, he jumped from professionalism directly to the Saudi tour, so the fact that he is now himself within the Top 135 of the ranking is a kind of miracle.

Without a doubt he is right now the LIV player with the best progression in the world.

In 15 months he has gone from position 2819 to 135. «In the preseason I set goals, not so much about world ranking numbers, such as qualifying for the Open and US Open, which depended a little on me, and getting my head in the Olympic Games. to be the second player who can represent Spain.

But with the LIV calendar and no world ranking points, it is very complicated.

"Now I can dream a little and see if I can get to the PGA Championship and Paris."

To qualify for the PGA Championship he would have to reach the top 100 in the world ranking and to accompany Jon Rahm in the Paris games he will have to surpass three players who, by ranking, are currently ahead: Pablo Larrazábal (103), Jorge Campillo (109) and Adrián Otaegui (121).

Complicated, but not impossible, especially because Puig will not have too many cartridges.

This week he competed in another Asian Tour tournament, in Oman, and there he placed tenth, another coup d'état.

“I will do everything possible to get into the top 100,” he warns.

The difference is that his rivals compete every week in tournaments with world ranking points, while Puig has to leave LIV Golf to accumulate.

That is a handicap for his purpose.

In Sergio García's team

Another of his great obsessions is winning at LIV Golf.

«When you leave university the level is very high, but having an immediate step to play with players like

Dustin Johnson




Cam Smith

... puts you in your place quickly.

It was the decision that motivated me to come to LIV, to have that competitive level.

If I don't have a good week, it's difficult to see my name up there and I know I have the level to even win in the LIV.

Puig started with a discreet 41st place in


, suffering from some back discomfort, and in Las Vegas he already reached the top 10 finishing in 17th place.

He also doesn't want to erase the European Tour from his mind: «Playing in Europe is difficult, but I would be very excited to play the Spanish Open and the Estrella Damm in Andalusia.

The dates are going well for me, so if the option is given, I will be there.

The Spanish has very clear ideas.

The player signed this season by Sergio García

's Fireballs

recognizes that playing alongside the golfer from Castellón and

Eugenio López Chacarra

makes him feel "a little at home" and, like everyone, he awaits news that normalizes the golf situation from the launch of the Saudi circuit: "I hope that if one day something happens, the world of golf comes together again and we could all play everywhere, it would be ideal."

Meanwhile, he does not lose sight of his objectives: "Qualify for one more major and the Paris Games." He thinks about it and reaffirms himself: "Why not?"