This LIV Golf trade involving Matthew Wolff and Talor Gooch is one of the most puzzling moves in sports history

December 07, 2023

Octavio Passos

Late Wednesday night, the Yankees and Padres completed a blockbuster trade sending superstar Juan Soto to New York in a move sending shockwaves through all of Major League Baseball. By Thursday morning, sports fans' heads were also spinning from the report that Jon Rahm is leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. What a wild few hours! But it gets even wilder!

During this span, another couple moves involving LIV went down. And while neither will draw a fraction of the attention the others did (Sorry, guys), one trade is—at least, on paper—one of the most puzzling transactions in sports history. Drum roll, please!

Matthew Wolff for Talor Gooch?! Say what?!

In case you haven't been following LIV this past season, these are two guys going in very different directions with their careers. Wolff, once considered to be potentially the best player of the Class of 2019 that includes Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland, finished 27th in the 2023 LIV standings. Just one spot ahead of Pat Perez. In other words, not great.

Gooch, on the other hand, had a fantastic campaign, winning three times and finishing first on the season-long points list to claim an $18 million bonus. So why would the Range Goats, who finished fourth in the team standings, trade the league's best player for the league's 27th-best player? That's what we want to know!

Adding to the confusion is the fact that Wolff was a punching bag for Smash captain Brooks Koepka all season. The five-time major champ couldn't wait get rid of this guy so his trade value could not be lower right now. Heck, he would have cut him for nothing. But instead, he miraculously swaps him for a big-time upgrade? Apparently, Brooks Koepka is one of the great GMs of this generation.

Some will point out that Wolff still has plenty of talent and that he's still only 24, and that's true. And maybe he needs a nicer captain like Bubba Watson to coax some of that talent out of him. But this is just bizarre. That being said, this is the second consecutive offseason that Gooch has been traded. Is he the James Harden of LIV? So maybe there's something there.

By the way, the other trade also involved Bubba and the RangeGoats as they swapped Harold Varner III for Peter Uihlein. Two solid players who never won on the PGA Tour. Varner was seventh in the standings last year while Uihlein was 12th. You see, that one makes sense.

These offseason transactions are one of LIV's big differentiators, but it's hard to take the league seriously if they're not going to take their trades seriously. Maybe wheeling-and-dealing Bubba will prove the haterz wrong, but Gooch for Wolff seems like an absolute fleecing. Unless . . .

Is Smash sending the RangeGoats a boatful of cash as well? Was this a quid-pro-quo for Smash signing struggling Graeme McDowell recently? Something to make Brooks feel better after his brother, Chase, was relegated from the squad? Does it have something to do with the Rahm move? Or is it just a nice Christmas gift from Bubba to Brooks? Someone make this make sense! In the meantime, our condolences to all the RangeGoats fans out there.