LIV Golf rebels warned they could miss out on future US Opens


USGA chief executive Mike Whan admits he can foresee it becoming more difficult for players competing in the LIV Golf Invitational Series to qualify for the US Open.

he USGA announced last week that it would not prevent players who were already exempt from playing in this week’s 122nd US Open at Brookline, saying it would not be “appropriate, nor fair” to change the entry criteria once established.

However, their statement addressed only the 2022 US Open and added that their decision should not be construed as support for an “alternative organizing entity” or the actions of individual players.

Two days later, the PGA Tour suspended 17 of its members who teed off in the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Club, including 2016 US Open champion Dustin Johnson.

Asked on Wednesday if he could see it becoming harder and harder for LIV players to get into the year’s third major, Whan simply replied: “Yes.”

Pressed on how that might be achieved, he added: “Well, first off, I just answered the question is could I foresee a day? Yeah, I could foresee a day. Do I know what that day looks like? No, I don’t.

“We need to take a long-term view of this and see where these things go so we’re not going to have a knee-jerk reaction to kind of what we do.

“I think it would be a lot of hypotheticals for me to get what LIV is going to be by the time we’re talking about this next year, but we’re going to definitely re-evaluate field criteria. We would any year. We will take a look at what the landscape looks like.

“I think our job is to make sure that we promote golf no matter how it’s played and at the same time sit back and make sure we assess what is or isn’t good for the game long-term.

“But, hey, one thing that’s been great about this sport is athletes have had choice, and obviously some athletes are taking advantage of that choice. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

“(But) I don’t get to build my field criteria based on what Mike Whan likes or what the three of us (fellow USGA officials Stu Francis and John Bodenhamer) like.

“We build a field criteria, we post it, and we let people play their way into it or out of it, and that’s how we made the decision on 2022.

“Whether we all like it or not, in February 30 guys played for the same promoter in Saudi Arabia with an acceptable release from the PGA Tour, and for years the DP World Tour has had an event there, same promoter.”

The top 60 in the world rankings on May 23 and June 6, who are not otherwise exempt, qualify for the US Open, making LIV Golf’s impending application to be allowed to award ranking points for future events potentially vital.

The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) board which will make the decision comprises Augusta National, the DP World Tour, the PGA Tour, the R&A, the PGA of America, the USGA, and the International Federation of PGA Tours.

“I’m probably a couple thousand emails behind over the last three weeks of championships, but I don’t think we are sitting on a submission,” Whan added.

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