After months of speculation as to whether LIV Golf players would be eligible to compete in next year’s Masters, the issue was finally resolved with confirmation that Augusta National will allow them to play in the first Major of the year.
One man who wouldn’t have needed to think twice about his appearance if not for his decision to join LIV Golf is Bryson DeChambeau. The American met the criteria to qualify thanks to his win in the 2020 US Open, which handed him eligibility for the following five years. However, that was cast into doubt once he signed for the controversial organisation.
With the threat of being barred now lifted, the 29-year-old has said it is the correct outcome. According to a tweet from the Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, DeChambeau responded to the news saying: “As long as you meet the criteria established by the tournament committee, you should be eligible to play. I believe they made the right decision. This Masters will be one of the most exciting Masters in many years”.
“As long as you meet the criteria established by the tournament committee, you should be eligible to play. I believe they made the right decision. This Masters will be one of the most exciting Masters in many years.”-@b_dechambeau on Augusta National allowing LIV golfers to play.December 20, 2022
Explaining the reasoning behind the decision to allow LIV Golf players to compete next year, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement: “Regrettably, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it. Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April. Therefore, as invitations are sent this week, we will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament.”
There is no doubt the ongoing issue had been a cause for concern among affected LIV Golf players. For example, talking about the potential for LIV Golf Masters bans in August, two-time champion Bubba Watson said he was “hoping, and praying, that they make the right decisions and past champions and people, we can all start playing.” He also said: “If they tell me that I can't go, being a past champion, then I don't want to be there anyway because that's just - that's just the wrong way to look at it. It's the game of golf. We are all trying to be the best players.”
However, while eligible LIV Golf players such as DeChambeau and Watson have a reprieve for 2023, Ridley hinted that the rules may change in the future, saying: “As we have said in the past, we look at every aspect of the Tournament each year, and any modifications or changes to invitation criteria for future Tournaments will be announced in April.”
Regarding DeChambeau’s optimism for an exciting tournament, he could very well be correct. LIV Golf boasts 16 players who will be eligible for The Masters, including six former winners. That is sure to create plenty of competition as some of the finest players LIV Golf has on its books compete alongside some of the best players from its great rival, the PGA Tour.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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