The U.S. Open has overruled the PGA by announcing that star golfers who joined the new LIV Golf Series will be allowed to play this year.
The announcement is good news for Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and other superstar golfers after the PGA banned players who defected to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series which has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.
There are three major tournaments that are not sanctioned by the PGA — the U.S. Open, Open Championship, and the Masters.
The other two have not commented yet.
“We pride ourselves in being the most open championship in the world and the players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both via exemption and qualifying, will have the opportunity to do so,” the USGA said in a statement.
“Our field criteria were set prior to entries opening earlier this year and it’s not appropriate, nor fair to competitors, to change criteria once established.
“Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question — should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event?
“And ultimately we decided that they should not.
“Our decision regarding our field for the 2022 U.S. Open should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organizing entity, nor supportive of any individual player actions or comments.
“Rather, it is simply a response to whether or not the USGA views playing in an alternative event, without the consent of their home tour, an offense that should disqualify them for the U.S. Open.”
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 7, 2022
From The New York Post:
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan didn’t suspend the LIV boys because the new tour is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The company man suspended them because he is terrified that LIV Golf and its bottomless reserve of up-front money represent a potentially lethal threat to his company.
In a letter to his players, Monahan wrote that tour fans and partners “are surely tired of all this talk of money, money, and more money.”
But if the PGA Tour wants to fend off the LIV challenge, defined by nine-figure bonuses, $4 million checks for tournament winners, and $120,000 checks for last-place finishers, it had better come up with money, money, and more money for star players — and sooner much rather than later.
For the sake of maintaining the sport’s world order, the USGA could have embraced the PGA Tour’s position and preference, announced it was dropping the Greg Norman traveling all-stars from the U.S. Open field, then fought the LIV lawyers in court.
Instead, the U.S. Open’s governing body released a statement that read like this:
“We pride ourselves in being the most open championship in the world and the players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both via exemption and qualifying, will have the opportunity to do so…
We simply asked ourselves this question — should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And we ultimately decided that they should not.”
No, the USGA doesn’t deserve a standing ovation for merely making the right call.
Just an acknowledgment that it did finally sink a big putt under final-round pressure.