The British Open will remain open, including for LIV Golf players

Although there may be changes to the criteria for exemption from the British Open, the head of the governing body which runs the championship has said there will be no attempt to prevent golfers who take part in the LIV Golf League to play the Open next year at Royal Liverpool.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand – where the winner will earn a place in both the Masters and the Open – R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said golf summary that the tournament will remain open.

“We’ll be releasing in January/February what we’re going to do with LIV Golfers,” Slumbers said. “But you want a guide, go back to what I said in July (at St. Andrews). We are not banning anyone. We are not going to betray 150 years of history and make the Open not open. It’s all in the name. And that’s important. What we’re going to do is make sure there are proper ways and means to qualify.

“I can’t wait to see (2022 champion and now LIV player) Cam Smith kick off around 9:40 a.m. on the first day of The Open next year. The Open needs to steer clear of what happens in terms of disagreements and making sure we stay true to our principle, which is to have the best players in the world competing.”

Slumbers noted the rift in the game caused by LIV Golf and his backers from Saudi Arabia and said he hoped some sort of reconciliation would be possible.

“For me, it’s not about them and us,” he said. “I have no problem with the players. People play for a living. I note that Saudi Arabia wants to invest a lot of money in the game that I love.” This is a good thing. But I want to preserve the lanes and the meritocracy that our game is built on. Sport without it is not sport. I want to make sure we have the best players competing week after week. If the game is not played with great value and respect, I have no chance of growing the game.

“Maybe the consequence of where we are is that we only see all the top players together four times a year. So we will enjoy that four times a year.”

Michael C. Ford