Players who have joined LIV Golf will not be barred from participating in next year’s Masters, tournament organizers have announced.
The PGA Tour has suspended members who participated in the Saudi-funded breakaway without permission, while the DP World Tour has fined players £100,000 and banned them from the Genesis Scottish Open, but has as this remained temporarily on 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 change the championship entry criteria.
Masters president Fred Ridley took a similar stance on Tuesday, saying in a statement that entry criteria for 2023 would remain the same, with any changes to be announced in April.
Former Masters champions Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson are among the top players to join LIV, while others who remain in the global top 50 – although LIV are not currently allowed to award any Ranking Points – will still be eligible to compete at Augusta National.
Ridley’s statement reads: “Since its inception in 1934, the purpose of the Masters Tournament has been to benefit the game of golf.
“Each April, the Masters brings together the best golfers in the world 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 at home and abroad.
“Over the years, legends of the game have competed and won at Augusta National Golf Club.
“Champions like Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have become heroes for golfers of all ages.
“They have inspired some to follow in their footsteps and so many more to play and enjoy the game. They have supported the sport and therefore all who benefit from it.
“They showed respect for those who came before them and paved the way for future generations. Golf is better because of them.
“Unfortunately, recent actions have divided professional men’s golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the significant legacy of those who built it.
“While we are disappointed with these developments, our aim is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent group of golfers next April.
“Therefore, as invitations go out this week, we will be inviting those eligible under our current criteria to participate in the 2023 Masters Tournament.
“As we have said in the past, we review all aspects of the tournament every year, and any changes or changes to the invitation criteria for future tournaments will be announced in April.
“We have reached a turning point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we are confident that golf, which has overcome many challenges over the years, will endure again.