The decision will be viewed as a major victory for the Saudi-backed series with the PGA Tour having suspended players jumping across to the rebel circuit.
LIV Golf has lured away some of the US-based PGA Tour’s top players with huge sums of money, leading to a simmering feud within the sport.
“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,” said Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley in a statement.
Statement from Chairman Fred Ridley, regarding the 2023 Masters Tournament.Read more ➡️ https://t.co/VlktfYOZUc
— The Masters (@TheMasters) 1671548401000
“Our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April.
“We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport, At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges through the years, will endure again.”
Under current criteria LIV’s marquee names, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel will all tee it up April 6-9 at Augusta National qualifying for the year’s first major as past Masters champions which comes with a lifetime exemption.
British Open champion Cameron Smith, former US Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka and former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau will also receive invitations with winners of the three other majors earning five-year Masters exemptions.
The Masters criteria also includes the top 50 in the official world golf rankings (OWGR) at the end of 2022 which currently includes LIV defectors Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch, Harold Varner III, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Louis Oosthuizen.
Ridley lamented the divisions within the sport at the moment and did not rule out amending the club’s qualifying criteria in the future.
The British Open has indicated LIV golfers who meet qualifying standards will be welcome while the US Open and the PGA Championship have not yet confirmed their entry criteria.
“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,” said Ridley.