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R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers has explained that he has received gratitude for his stance on the LIV Golf players and their chances of being banned in future Open Championships.
When asked before last month's 150th Open at St Andrews, Slumbers was categorical that banning players was not on the agenda. Now, speaking ahead of the final women’s Major of the year, the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield, Slumbers has explained that his unequivocal stance on the matter has won him plenty of support.
Video: What Is LIV Golf
He said: “I think the reaction to the comments we made are, primarily, I've had a lot of people say, thank you for taking a very strong leadership position and being very clear about what our position is. People might not agree with it; that doesn't matter, but that has been the general feeling that I've been given. Actually, people in the business were pleased that we said what we wanted to say two weeks ago.”
Elsewhere in the game, there has been almost no end of confusion on the legal rights of LIV Golf players to compete in other competitions. Earlier today, it was revealed 11 LIV Golf players had filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour challenging their suspensions. Meanwhile, there has been confusion over players’ eligibility for the DP World Tour, with Ian Poulter overturning a Scottish Open ban after legal action. There’s also an ongoing question over whether European LIV Golf players will be able to tee it up in next year’s Ryder Cup.
Slumbers put the potential for similar scenarios over next year's Open to bed last month when he said: "Looking ahead to The Open next year, we have been asked quite frequently about banning players. 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. Players have to earn their place in The Open, and that is fundamental to its ethos and its unique global appeal."
Despite Slumbers’ clear message on the status of affected players, he was still critical of LIV Golf when asked about the issue, saying it’s “not in the best interests of the sport.” He also stated that the idea LIV Golf is growing the game is not credible, and said: “There is no such thing as a free lunch. I believe the model we've seen at Centurion and Pumpkin Ridge is not in the best long-term interests of the sport as a whole and is entirely driven by money."
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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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