The USGA has announced that golfers who have qualified for the US Open and are involved in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series can remain in the US Open field this year.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series field for the $25 million Centurion Club opener included the likes of six-time US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson, 2016 winner Dustin Johnson, runner-up Louis Oosthuizen last, and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia, along with a number of others who qualified for the second men’s major of the year at Brookline Country Club.
The governing body said its decision “should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organizing entity, nor as supporting individual player actions or comments.”
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USGA CEO Mike Whan explained why he allowed LIV Golf players to play the US Open before the tournament started during his press conference. “I’m not really sure my answer is what you like or what everyone else likes,” he said. “We definitely feel responsible for this game, and we feel responsible for the competitors playing it. We sat down and had a long chat about a week before the US Open, where someone else played and which promoter he played it with, disqualify them for this event? We decided against it, knowing that not everyone would agree with that decision.”
Whan also hasn’t ruled out barring LIV Golf competitors from future US Opens. “Can I foresee a day? Yeah, I could foresee a day,” he said. “Do I know what that day is like? No, I don’t. To be honest with you, what we’re talking about was different two years ago, and it was different two months ago. of what it is today. But the question was, could you imagine a day when it would be harder for some people doing different things to get into a US Open? I could. Will it be true? I don’t know, but I can definitely predict that day.
The baton will now be handed over to the R&A, which, as the organizers of an “Open” themselves, will probably make the same decision as the USGA. Augusta National and the PGA of America have more time to make their decision on whether or not to ban players in the LIV Golf Invitational Series from playing in the Majors.
USGA Statement on LIV Golf
“We pride ourselves on being the most open championship in the world and players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both by exemption and qualification, will have the opportunity to do so,” said USGA in a statement. “Our field criteria were set before registration opened earlier this year and it is neither appropriate nor fair for competitors to alter the criteria once established.
“In terms of players who might choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question: should a player who qualified for the US Open 2022, via our published field criteria, be removed from the field as a result of his decision to play in another event and we ultimately decided they shouldn’t.
“Our decision regarding our home ground for the 2022 US Open should not be construed as endorsement by the USGA of an alternate organizing entity, or endorsement of any individual player actions or comments at an alternate event, without the consent of their home tour, an infraction that should disqualify them from the US Open.”