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Masters Tournament Will Let LIV Golf Players Compete in 2023


And Augusta, which has change into entangled within the Justice Department’s antitrust inquiry into men’s skilled golf, will proceed to confess players who’re in the highest 50 on the planet rankings at certain times.

The world rating system is a weapon that’s as subtle and technical (and disputed) because it is consequential and, for some golfers, determinative. LIV players don’t currently earn rating points for his or her 54-hole, no-cut events, and so they have fallen within the rankings as other golfers have kept playing tournaments on eligible tours. In July, LIV applied to be included within the rankings, and more recently, it partnered with the MENA Tour, which is part of the system, to try to maintain its players in the combination.

However the board that oversees the rankings includes golf executives whose reactions to the breakaway series have ranged from skeptical to hostile, and the group has not embraced LIV’s requests. If major tournaments just like the Masters proceed to make use of world rating points as a qualifying method, at the least some players will see their entry prospects evaporate. A sustained reliance on PGA Tour events as other qualifying avenues can even stanch access for LIV players.

Whether LIV golfers can play the majors could also be crucial to the upstart’s prospects within the years ahead. Beyond golfing glory, major championship winners earn heightened public profiles, and so they usually tend to attract lucrative sponsorship arrangements. If LIV’s players face extraordinary constraints on their possibilities simply to achieve a significant tournament field, much less to win the competition, the league could have trouble recruiting latest players.

The opportunity of exclusion from the majors was enough to warrant a temporary legal spat over the summer, when the LIV players Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford asked a federal judge to order their participation within the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs. Gooch, Jones and Swafford had all did not qualify for the 2023 majors through other means, and their lawyers warned that keeping them from the playoffs would probably end their possibilities at doing so. Heeding the arguments of the PGA Tour, which said that “antitrust laws don’t allow plaintiffs to have their cake and eat it too,” the judge turned back their request.

Augusta National’s decision on Tuesday, fleeting as it would ultimately prove, continues to be a milestone for LIV, which has not signed a television contract or attracted marquee sponsors. Those symptoms of trouble have only deepened concerns concerning the long-term viability of the brand new tour, which many critics regard largely as a method for Saudi Arabia to sanitize its fame as a human rights abuser. Last week, the circuit acknowledged that its chief operating officer, who was widely seen as integral to its business ambitions, had resigned.

In recent months, Greg Norman, LIV’s chief executive, urged major tournaments to “stay Switzerland” and permit his circuit’s players to participate.

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