Banning Players From The Open 'Not On Our Agenda' - R&A Chief Martin Slumbers

Martin Slumbers says that The Open will not be banning any players but didn't rule out changing the qualification criteria

Martin Slumbers at a press conference
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers has categorically ruled out banning LIV Golf players from future Opens but hinted that the criteria and qualification process for next year's Championship may be changed.

Slumbers opened his press conference at St Andrews with a strong statement in opposition to LIV Golf, saying it is "not in the best interests of the sport" while maintaining that "we will hold totally true to The Open being open to anybody."

"Looking ahead to The Open next year, we have been asked quite frequently about banning players," he said. "Let me be very clear. That's not on our agenda. But what is on our agenda is that we will review our exemptions and qualifications criteria for The Open.

"And whilst we do that every year, we absolutely reserve the right to make changes as our Open Championships Committee deems appropriate. Players have to earn their place in The Open, and that is fundamental to its ethos and its unique global appeal."

Video: What is LIV Golf?

Slumbers was also firm in his opposition to LIV and his view that the current ecosystem in the men's game works perfectly fine. 

"I firmly believe that the existing golf ecosystem has successfully provided stable pathways for golfers to enter the sport and develop and realise their full potential," he said.

"I know that I can look in the eye of any boy or any parent and know that if he comes into the game and wants to get to the top that there is a pathway to the top totally based on his ability and to work hard and that has been fought for 100 years.

"I think that is something that is fantastic for our sport and it's worth fighting for. That pathway is the biggest piece of the ecosystem for me. The pathway that we have today works extremely well, doesn't need to be changed."

Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x