USGA may hinder LIV Golf Players from Future US Opening

USGA may hinder LIV Golf Players from Future US Opening

BROOKLINE, Mass. – Since last week, many high-level golfers have been waiting for the weight of sports power brokers after abandoning the PGA Tour, which was set up to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Circle, and splitting the men’s professional game.

The biggest prizes in golf are the major championships that shape the legacy, win high sponsorship and are marked on each player’s calendar: the Masters Tournament, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship. However, none of these four events, whether old or new, are managed by a professional tour. They are sometimes run by four different entities, described as four golf families (include organized crime jokes here).

These organizations are now the mainstay of the struggle for the future of men’s professional golf. When the PGA Tour responded last week by stopping 17 players who had adapted to LIV Golf, the question was whether the major championship leaders were from the Augusta National Golf Club (Masters) and the United States Golf Association (USA Open). R&A (British Open) and PGA of America (PGA Championship). Will they reject the alternative LIV Golf Invitational series and exclude its players from their events because they have long been allies with well-known tours in the US and Europe?

There was a partial response on Wednesday, and while accepting the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by LIV Golf, famous players like Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson, who insisted they could still play in major tournaments, could not be. The main shareholder is the Private Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

While all LIV Golf-related players who qualified for this week’s US Open at the Country Club outside Boston were welcomed, USGA CEO Mike Whan said Wednesday he would consider ways to make the organization’s work more difficult. LIV Golf players will compete in the event in the future.

Whan was asked if LIV Golf players could see a situation where they would find it “harder and harder” to enter the US Open.

“Yes,” he replied.

Asked to explain in detail, Whan said: “Could I have predicted one day? Yes, I could predict one day. “

Whan warned that the USGA would not act hastily, but would no doubt “re-evaluate” the selection criteria.

“The question was, can you imagine a day when it would be harder for some people to get into the US Open?” he said. “I could.”

There are other statements from Whan that did not sound like confirmation of the LIV Golf Invitational series, which held its first tournament outside London last weekend and still lacks the support of most of the best and most ordinary PGA Tour players. However, the break-up has surprisingly attracted some leading players, many of whom admitted their commitment to the US-based PGA Tour a few weeks or days ago.

“I’m sad about what happened in the professional game,” Whan said. He continued: “I’ve heard it’s good for the game. At least from my current appearance, it looks good to a few people who play this game, but I’m struggling with how good it is for the game. ”

Whan, a longtime LPGA commissioner before taking over the USGA last summer, said it was important for each of the golf leaders to work together while assessing the role that LIV Golf would play.

“We have to see what it will be – if it’s an exhibition or a tour?” he said. “I’ve said it many times, I’ve seen a lot of things start in the game, maybe there’s a lot of noise or there’s a lot of money behind it, but I’ve seen a lot. Be with us in a few years.

“One event does not change my thinking about the future of the sport.”

And more importantly, when Whan was asked if the USGA would draw attention to the suspensions imposed by the PGA Tour while re-evaluating the criteria for the future US Opens in WG, Whan responded quickly: “They already did. This championship attracted our attention. “

Whan’s comments came a month after U.S. CEO Seth Waugh stood firmly behind the PGA Tour, calling it part of the golf ecosystem.

“Our charter says that in order to be a PGA member somewhere and therefore get the right to play, you have to be a recognized member of a well-known tour,” Waugh said of the PGA Championship.

Addressing the LIV Golf Tour, Waugh said: “I don’t know if it’s a league, it’s not a league at this point – but the structure of the league is a bit flawed.”

So that’s where the other two major championships and their likely answers to the LIV Golf Tour, which will host five events in the United States on June 30 this year at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside Portland, Ore.

As with this week’s US Open, leaders of the British Open may have a hard time banning players who have already qualified for this year’s event, which begins in St. Petersburg on July 14. Andrews, Scotland and Mickelson and Johnson will also be included. This means that the PGA Tour-LIV will be the next and potentially the first major Masters championship, which will have to move on to the Golf match.

In April, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley was asked whether players competing in the PGA Tour would be invited to play in the Masters. Ridley said: “Our mission is always to act in the best interests of the game in any form. I think golf is in a good place now. ”

Over the years, Augusta National has come to respect extreme traditional values ​​and is unwilling to change. And Ridley no doubt heard what Wha had to say on Wednesday if the two hadn’t discussed the issue over the phone.

On the eve of the 122nd US Open, will Wha’s remarks slow players’ departure from the PGA Tour, especially after the British Open?

It is difficult to say. It will continue to be attractive, especially for the demographics that are most prone to LIV Golf’s money-changers: older players have crossed their peaks.

But if Wha has a message in response to 13 questions about LIV Golf’s entry or interference in the sport on Wednesday, he doesn’t see it as a matter of course. He could be unstable about the new tour and offer his time. The main thing is that he suggested that it was not good for golf.

It was an explanatory observation of one of the strongest bosses of the main championship families of golf.

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