Hurdle as LIV players left without exemptions for majors

Former British Open winner Cameron Smith returns the Claret Jug to R&A boss Martin Slumbers.

Former British Open winner Cameron Smith returns the Claret Jug to R&A boss Martin Slumbers. Photo: EPA

Organisers of the Masters and Open Championship say they have no plans to create exemptions for LIV players in 2024.

Americans Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau called for an exemption category to be created to ensure LIV’s players are not frozen out of golf’s majors, after the circuit’s bid to be awarded world ranking points was turned down this month.

While the likes of Mickelson, DeChambeau and Australian Cameron Smith are currently exempt for the majors following recent wins, 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia’s slide down the rankings meant he had to enter final qualifying for last year’s Open, and narrowly missed out on a place at Royal Liverpool.

Asked at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Melbourne whether the Open would create an exemption for LIV players, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers brought up a recent newspaper report claiming talks were already under way.

“I would say that it is completely off the mark,” Slumbers said.

“I would like to make it very clear that exemptions for the Open, we do not discuss them with anyone and nor would we at any point in time.

“I think it’s very important that you don’t lose sight of the fact that the Open is intended to be open to everybody; that you earn your place in the field, through exemptions, and that won’t change.”

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said the criteria for April’s Masters were unlikely to be changed, but that they remained “dynamic”.

“If you look back over the history of the Masters tournament, and the qualifications that existed, we have changed those qualifications numerous times, dozens of times,” Ridley said.

“We look at those every year. We don’t make changes every year, but we do look at them under the current circumstances.

“As you’ll recall last year, there was some speculation as to whether or not we would invite LIV golfers. We stayed true to our qualification criteria. We invited everyone who was eligible.

“While we do not, at this time, anticipate making a change in 2024, we do always look at (criteria), and we will continue to do that.

“Our qualifications are very much dynamic, and we adjust to what we feel is in the best interest of a tournament representing the best players in the world. We’ll always look at that.”


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