Players on the LIV Golf International Series will be able to compete at The Open Championship next month, the tournament organizer said on Wednesday. The Open’s decision matches that of the U.S. Open, which allowed LIV golfers to play in last week’s tournament at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
“The Open is golf’s original championship and since it was first played in 1860, openness has been fundamental to its ethos and unique appeal,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A. “Players who are exempt or have earned a place through qualifying for The 150th Open in accordance with the entry terms and conditions will be able to compete in the championship at St Andrews.”
The Open runs from July 14 to 17 at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. The ability of LIV golfers to compete in the tournament clashes with the stance of the PGA Tour, which suspended all LIV participants from its tournaments soon after the new circuit’s first tournament teed off on June 9.
The LIV Golf series is controversial for a number of reasons, including that it’s backed by Saudi financing and will play two of its eight tournaments this year at Donald Trump-owned courses, but its massive payouts have still attracted a handful of past major winners. So far, eight golfers ranked in the top 50 in the world have left or plan to leave the PGA Tour for LIV, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed. DeChambeau, Reed and Koepka will all reportedly make their LIV debuts at the series’ second event on June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore.
Two previous winners of The Open — Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen — play in the LIV series.
(Photo: Peter Casey / USA Today)