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The biggest question in the golf world heading into 2023 was whether or not LIV golfers would be allowed to play in major championships. With the Masters being the first major of the year, many in the golf world looked to Augusta National to set the precedent regarding LIV players and their eligibility in majors.
Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley announced the club’s decision on Tuesday. All eligible golfers, including LIV players, will receive an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters in April.
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Invitations are sent to eligible players this week, hence the somewhat early decision to allow LIV golfers.
“We will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament,” Ridleys’ statement read in part. “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.”
This means 16 LIV golfers should be receiving an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters based on the tournament’s current criteria: past champions, major championship exemptions and/or ranking inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings by year’s end.
Past Masters champions who joined LIV golf this year include Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, and Charl Schwartzel; all of which receive lifetime exemptions given that they have a green jacket in their closets.
Other big names that will be eligible to tee it up at Augusta in April are Brooks Koepka, Cam Smith, and Bryson DeChambeau given all three have recently won major championships and fall under the criteria.
The three other major championships – the PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and Open – are each run by separate entities meaning they could change eligibility criteria if they see fit, but Augusta National allowing LIV golfers next year certainly sends a message.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris