A months-long mystery has been resolved.
Since the news broke that the Saudi government backed LIV Golf, an upstart golf league seeking to disrupt the PGA Tour, the question has been whether the three majors not sanctioned by the PGA — the U.S. Open, Open Championship and Masters — would allow players who chose to compete in LIV Golf to play. The answer, at least with the U.S. Open, is yes.
“We pride ourselves in being the most open championship in the world and the players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both via exemption and qualifying, will have the opportunity to do so,” the USGA said in a statement. “Our field criteria were set prior to entries opening earlier this year and it’s not appropriate, nor fair to competitors, to change criteria once established.
“Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question — should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And ultimately we decided that they should not.”
Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson headline the first LIV Golf event, held this week outside London. Other competitors include Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Kevin Na, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell and Talor Gooch.
The U.S. Open takes place next week at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
“Our decision regarding our field for the 2022 U.S. Open should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organizing entity, nor supportive of any individual player actions or comments,” the statement concluded. “Rather, it is simply a response to whether or not the USGA views playing in an alternative event, without the consent of their home tour, an offense that should disqualify them for the U.S. Open.”