LIV golfers allowed to compete at 150th Open

Golf

Players involved in the LIV Golf Series will be allowed to compete at the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews next month, organizers the R&A announced on Wednesday.

The USGA allowed players who have joined the LIV Golf Series, which is financially backed by Saudi Arabia’s government-backed PIF Fund, to play at last weekend’s U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, which was won by England’s Matt Fitzpatrick.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka has become the latest player to make the switch to the LIV Golf Series, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday, joining a a host of stars including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, among others.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said in a statement: “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.

“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. We are focused on staging a world class championship in July and celebrating this truly historic occasion for golf. We will invest the proceeds of The Open, as we always do, for the benefit of golf which reflects our purpose to ensure that the sport is thriving 50 years from now.”

The LIV Golf Series hosted its first event in St. Albans, on the outskirts of London, earlier this month, with former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel winning the inaugural event.

Sources told ESPN on Tuesday the PGA Tour has plans to respond to the direct threat of LIV Golf, which has now signed eight of the top 50 players, introducing a revamped schedule that will include increased purses worth at least $20 million, although the tour’s players advisory committee and board are yet to approve the changes.

PGA Tour members were told of the plans in a meeting at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut on Tuesday.

Reigning Open champion Colin Morikawa repeated his assertion on Tuesday that he will not join LIV Golf.

“To state for the record, once again, you all are absolutely wrong. I’ve said it since February at Riviera that I’m here to stay on the @PGATOUR and nothing has changed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cereal to pour in my milk,” Morikawa said in a Twitter post.

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