St. ANDREWS, Scotland – The organizer of the British Open warned on Wednesday that it may change the entry rules for future tournaments – a change that could threaten the Claret Jug prospects for players who move to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
While the R&A has not made a final decision on how players will be able to join the 156-strong field in 2023 and beyond, its chief executive Martin Slumbers said one of golf’s most hallowed tournaments could soon close for some. One of the best players in the world.
“We are reviewing our exemptions and qualifying criteria for the Open,” Slumbers said at a news conference at St Andrews, the Old Course, ahead of the Open, adding that “we absolutely reserve the right to make changes” in the past. years.
“Players have to earn their place in the Open and that is fundamental to its ethos and unique global appeal,” said Slumbers, who did little to disguise his disdain for the LIV Series.
Slumbers denied the R&A was coordinating with organizers of other major golf tournaments to potentially exclude players such as Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, who have been linked to LIV in recent months. But the chief executive of the United States Golf Association, which oversees the US Open, said in June that the group would “re-evaluate” the criteria it uses to set the tournament field.
The PGA of America, which is responsible for the PGA Championship, also expressed its disdain for the LIV Series, which offers millions of dollars in guaranteed money to players to join the 54-hole, shotgun tournaments. Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts the Masters tournament, has so far been tight-lipped about its intentions.
Like other tournaments, the R&A publishes a long list of ways for players to qualify for the Open Championship, which will be held at Royal Liverpool next year. This year, for example, players ranked in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking were invited along with the winners of selected tournaments on a certain date.
The group that oversees the official world golf ranking system said on Tuesday that LIV, which receives much of its funding from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, had applied this month to be “incorporated” and that it was beginning to review the application.
Open organizers have been trying hard this week to focus on the 150th tournament. But the turmoil surrounding LIV has crept in more than once. At the weekend, the R&A admitted it had not invited Greg Norman, chief executive of LIV, who has won the Open twice, to avoid celebrating at St Andrews.
And on Tuesday, Tiger Woods used a press conference to condemn LIV.
“What do these players do for guaranteed money, what’s the incentive to train?” asked Woods. “What’s the incentive to go out and get dirty? You just get a lot of money upfront, play a few events, and play 54 holes. “
Players who moved from the PGA Tour to LIV, he said, “turned their backs on what got them to this position.”