R&A announces it won’t block LIV Golf participants from playing in Open Championship

The famous claret jug is still up for grabs for PGA Tour defectors to LIV Golf.

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For now, PGA Tour defectors to Saudi-backed LIV Golf — which at the moment boasts big names like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Ancer, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed — will remain eligible to play the final major of the year, the 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Though PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has banned players who participated in the first LIV Golf Series event held in London two weeks ago and warned that any player who plays in a future event, like the upcoming LIV Golf tournament in Portland on June 30, will face the same fate, the Tour doesn’t have jurisdiction over the four major championships. The Masters is run by Augusta National, the PGA Championship by the PGA of America, the U.S. Open by the USGA and the Open Championship by the R&A.

Two weeks ago, the USGA announced that they would not ban previously qualified players from competing at the 2022 U.S. Open at the The Country Club.

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“Our decision regarding our field for the 2022 U.S. Open should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organizing entity, nor supportive of any individual player actions or comments,” the USGA said in an emailed statement. “Rather, it is simply a response to whether or not the USGA views playing in an alternative event, without the consent of their home tour, an offense that should disqualify them for the U.S. Open.”

On Wednesday, with the Open Championship less than a month away, the R&A weighed in.

“The Open is golf’s original championship and since it was first played in 1860, openness has been fundamental to its ethos and unique appeal,” said R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers. “Players who are exempt or have earned a place through qualifying for The 150th Open in accordance with the entry terms and conditions will be able to compete in the championship at St. Andrews.”

In a press conference at the Travelers Championship, Monahan announced plans for a newly-revamped, big-money PGA Tour schedule, but he also acknowledged the limits of his influence over the game’s governing bodies when it comes to major championship fields. “We’re just going to be as competitive as we can be,” he said.

The 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews begins on Thursday, July 14.

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