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USGA CEO Mike Whan has offered his opinion on the fallout from the LIV Golf Invitational Series, suggesting that the US Open could issue bans to players competing in the Saudi-backed Series from next year.
Speaking to the press on the subject the day before the third Major of the year begins, Whan said: “Could I foresee a day? Yeah, I could foresee a day. Do I know what that day looks like? No, I don’t. To be honest with you, what we’re talking about was different two years ago, and it was different two months ago than it is today. But the question was, could you envision a day where it would be harder for some folks doing different things to get into a US Open? I could. Will that be true? I don’t know, but I can definitely foresee that day.”
Video: Things You Didn't Know About The US Open
Whan’s admittance comes a week after the USGA released a statement saying it would allow LIV Golf Invitational Series players to remain in the US Open. Whan addressed that decision, saying: “I don’t get to build my field criteria based on what Mike Whan likes. We build a field criteria. We post it, and we let people play their way into it or out of it, and that’s how we made the decision on 2022.”
Despite that decision, Whan admitted that the qualifying criteria is likely to change next year. He said: “I think it would be a lot of hypotheticals for me to get what LIV is going to be by the time we’re talking about this next year, but as we would do any year, we’re going to definitely reevaluate field criteria. We would any year. We will take a look at what the landscape looks like. I didn’t mean to send some sort of tremor that everything is going to change tomorrow, but when asked the question, 'Could you foresee?', of course I could foresee. What exactly that may or may not look like will depend on what happens to the landscape.”
Yesterday, Brooks Koepka and Collin Morikawa voiced their displeasure that much of the discussion is focused on the Series despite the US Open being so close, and Whan said he hopes that all changes from Thursday. He said: “We’re praying that that changes tomorrow. Even I can say that you don’t have to ask how we feel about it, ask 156 players that are grinding it out there to get to tomorrow. I think hopefully as soon as we tee this up tomorrow morning, we’ll have something else to talk about, at least for the next four days.”
The first tee time is 6.45am EDT (11.45am BST). Defending champion Jon Rahm tees it up in a group with Collin Morikawa and James Piot soon after, at 7.18am EDT (12.18pm BST).
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.