LIV Golf players will not be excluded from next year’s Masters

Players who have joined LIV Golf will not be barred from competing in next year’s Masters, tournament organizers have announced.

The PGA Tour suspended members who participated in the Saudi-funded escape without permission, while the DP World Tour fined the players £100,000 and banned them from the Genesis Scottish Open but saw they temporarily remained under appeal.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said in July that banning LIV players from next year’s Open was “not on the agenda” but did not rule out changing the league’s entry criteria.

Masters chairman Fred Ridley took a similar stance on Tuesday, saying in a statement that the 2023 entry criteria would remain the same, with any future changes announced in April.

Former Masters champions Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson are among the best players to join LIV, with others remaining in the world’s top 50 – despite LIV not currently being allowed to award ranking points – they will still be able to compete in the Augusta National.

Ridley’s statement read: “Since its inception in 1934, the purpose of the Masters Tournament has been to further the game of golf.

“Every April, the Masters brings together the world’s best golfers to compete for the green jacket and a place in history.

“It provides a stage for fans to experience dramatic moments of competition at the highest level and promotes the sport domestically and internationally.

“Over the years, legends of the game have competed and won at Augusta National Golf Club.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia is one of the former Masters champions who have joined LIV Golf (Richard Sellers/PA)

“Champs like Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have become heroes to golfers of all ages.

“They have inspired some to follow in their footsteps and many others to play and enjoy the game. They have supported the sport and, therefore, all those who benefit from it.

“They have shown respect for those who have gone before them and blazed a trail for future generations. Golf is better because of them.

“Unfortunately, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the significant legacies of those who built it.

“While we are disappointed with these developments, our aim is to honor the tradition of bringing together a pre-eminent field of golfers this April.

“Therefore, as invitations are being sent out this week, we will be inviting those who are eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament.

“As we have said in the past, we review every aspect of the Tournament each year and any changes or changes to the invitation criteria for future Tournaments will be announced in April.

“We have reached a fundamental point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we are confident that golf, which has overcome many challenges over the years, will still stand.”

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