ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The British Open’s organizer pointedly warned on Wednesday that it could change its entry rules for future tournaments — potentially complicating the Claret Jug prospects of players who defected to the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series.
Although the R&A, which runs the Open, has not made a choice about how players will give you the chance to affix the 156-man field in 2023 and beyond, the organization’s chief executive, Martin Slumbers, left open the chance that the pathway to one in all golf’s most hallowed tournaments could soon shift.
“We’ll review our exemptions and qualifications criteria for the Open,” Slumbers said at a news conference at St. Andrews on the eve of the Open’s start on the Old Course. “We absolutely reserve the best to make changes” from past years, he added.
“Players must earn their place within the Open, and that is prime to its ethos and its unique global appeal,” said Slumbers, who did little to disguise his disdain for the LIV series, which he condemned as “entirely driven by money” and threatening to “the merit-based culture and the spirit of open competition that makes golf so special.”
Still, he signaled that a wholesale ban of players was “not on our agenda.”
Slumbers denied that the R&A was coordinating with the organizers of golf’s other major tournaments to potentially exclude LIV players, whose ranks include Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed. However the chief executive of the USA Golf Association, which controls the U.S. Open, said in June that the group would “re-evaluate” the standards it uses to set that tournament’s field.
A Quick Guide to the LIV Golf Series
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A latest series. The launch of recent Saudi-financed LIV Golf series has resurfaced longstanding questions on athletes’ moral obligations and their desire to compete and earn money. Here’s what to know:
What’s LIV Golf? The series is an upstart skilled golf circuit bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Its organizers hope to position it as a player-power-focused alternative to the PGA Tour, which has been the very best level of professional golf for nearly a century.
Who’s playing it? The 48 players within the initial LIV Golf event weren’t exactly a who’s who of golf, and plenty of of the most important names in the game, resembling Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, have stayed away. But there have been big names and former major champions, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio García.
What’s attracting the players? The LIV Golf events are the richest tournaments in golf history. The primary tournament’s total purse was $25 million, and the winner’s share was $4 million. The last-place finisher at each event was guaranteed $120,000. That’s on top of the looks fees and nine-figure signing-on payouts some players have accepted.
The P.G.A. of America, which is accountable for the PGA Championship, has also signaled its contempt for the LIV series, which has offered tens of millions of dollars in guaranteed money to players to affix 54-hole, no-cut tournaments with shotgun starts. Augusta National Golf Club, which organizes the invitation-only Masters Tournament, has thus far remained silent about its intentions.
Like other tournaments, the R&A publishes a lengthy roster of the way for players to qualify for the Open, which can be held next yr at Royal Liverpool. This yr, for instance, the choices included a spot in the highest 50 of the Official World Golf Rating on a certain date.
The group that oversees the Official World Golf Rating system said Tuesday that LIV Golf, which pulls much of its financing from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, had asked this month for “inclusion” and that it was starting to review the appliance.
British Open organizers have tried mightily this week to direct attention toward the a hundred and fiftieth tournament. However the turmoil surrounding LIV has repeatedly intruded. Over the weekend, the R&A acknowledged that it had not invited Greg Norman, the LIV chief executive who won the Open twice, to this yr’s festivities at St. Andrews.
And on Tuesday, Tiger Woods used a news conference to denounce LIV.
“What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what’s the motivation to practice?” Woods asked. “What’s the motivation to go on the market and earn it within the dirt? You’re just getting paid quite a lot of money up front and playing just a few events and playing 54 holes.”
The players who moved from the PGA Tour, which has come under Justice Department scrutiny for its efforts to keep up its roster of golfers, to LIV Golf, had “turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position,” Woods said.