USGA won’t block LIV golf players from next week’s US Open

HERTFORDSHIRE, England — The United States Golf Association said Tuesday it would not ban players from playing next week’s US Open because of their affiliation with the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Players such as Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen withdrew their PGA Tour memberships with perhaps fear of being suspended, leading to the US Open honoring it.

These four players are byes for next week’s US Open and will compete in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event this week at Centurion Club, which begins Thursday.

But the USGA said the lack of consent from the PGA Tour to compete in an alternate event or series would not prevent them from playing at the US Open.

“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 had earned his way to 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.”

The controversy surrounding the event, including its backing by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the threat LIV Golf poses to the PGA Tour, has left many wondering if major leagues will take action.

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Although the PGA Tour has no jurisdiction over the majors, it works closely with them and many exemption criteria are tied to PGA Tour performance.

Phil Mickelson, who secured a spot at the 2022 US Open by winning the PGA Championship last year, has not withdrawn his PGA Tour membership and said in a Monday interview with Read that he was confident that he would not be denied a place. in the majors.

Mickelson, 51, is exempt for the Masters and PGA for life, and for the British Open until age 60 because of his victories in these tournaments.

“I’ve had many conversations with the organizations that run the majors,” Mickelson said. “And I want to keep these conversations private. But I’m looking forward to playing the US Open and I’ll be there. I’m contingent on being able to play.”

The 122nd US Open begins June 16 at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Jon Rahm is the defending champion.

The field is mainly defined after the last qualifying events which took place across the country and in Canada on Monday.

“Our decision regarding our home ground for the 2022 US Open should not be construed as endorsement by the USGA of an alternate hosting entity, or endorsement of individual player actions or comments,” the USGA said in its statement. communicated. “Rather, it’s simply a response to whether or not the USGA is considering playing in an alternate event, without the consent of their home tour, an infraction that should disqualify them from the US Open.”

Ed’s note: The USGA has a business relationship with Buffalo Group, which owns and operates Morning Read. MR is Sports Illustrated’s exclusive golf content partner and an independent media outlet.

Michael C. Ford