Golfers who have played in the LIV Golf series will be allowed to compete at the Masters next year, organizers of the prestigious major announced on Tuesday.
Fred Ridley – the president of the Augusta National Golf Club, which organizes the Masters – said in a statement that “those eligible under our current criteria” would receive invitations this week to play the 87th edition of the major in April.
A number of players who took part in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV golf series are on the invitation list, including three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, world No. 3 and Open 2022 champion Cameron Smith and four-time major champion Brooks Koepka.
The eligibility of LIV Golf players for major tournaments has been one of the points of contention in an ongoing rift in the sport, with participating golfers being banned from the PGA Tour and no world ranking points being offered for major tournaments. LIV Golf.
Earlier this year, LIV Golf joined an antitrust lawsuit alongside some of its players to challenge their suspensions by the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour filed a countersuit in late September.
Last month, Tiger Woods called on LIV Golf Series CEO Greg Norman to step down.
“Unfortunately, recent actions have divided professional men’s golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the significant legacy of those who built it,” Ridley said.
“While we are disappointed with these developments, our aim is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent group of golfers next April.
“We have reached a turning point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we are confident that golf, which has overcome many challenges over the years, will endure again.
Ridley hinted that further changes to the tournament’s “invitation criteria” may come in the future.
“As we’ve said in the past, we review all aspects of the tournament every year,” he said.
“Any modifications or changes to the invitation criteria for future tournaments will be announced in April.”
Woods and Rory McIlroy, who was also candid in his review of the LIV Golf series, are both on the guest list.
In August, McIlroy condemned the series for “ripping up” men’s professional golf.
Former Masters champions Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel are among other players to have appeared at LIV Golf events to be invited, along with 2020 US Open champion Bryson Dechambeau and number World 30 Abraham Ancer from Mexico. .
The LIV Golf Series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the man that a US intelligence report named as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.
The Masters 2023 tournament runs from April 6 to April 9.