Videos by OutKick
The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced Tuesday that players who have committed to playing in the LIV Golf Invitational Series will be allowed to compete at next week’s U.S. Open.
That means that Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen, all who have resigned from the PGA Tour in fear of suspension, are eligible to be in the field for the 122nd U.S. Open. The four of them are all exempt to compete at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, just one week after they compete at the Centurion Club in London for LIV Golf’s first event, which tees off Thursday.
“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 we ultimately decided that they should not.’’
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has threatened disciplinary action and possible lifetime bans for players who leave the tour to play in LIV Golf. The PGA Tour, however, has no jurisdiction over the Majors, although much exemption criteria is connected to tour performance.
Phil Mickelson, who announced Monday his intentions to join LIV Golf, has not resigned from the PGA Tour and gained exemption for the 2022 U.S. Open after winning the 2021 PGA Championship. He told Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig Monday that he was confident he wouldn’t be denied a spot in the Majors.
“I’ve had many conversations with the organizations that run the Majors,’’ Mickelson said. “And I do want to keep those conversations private. But I am looking forward to playing the U.S. Open and I’ll be there. I’m under the understanding that I’m able to play.’’
With the LIV Golf drama seemingly squared away, the focus will shift to the playing of the tournament, which is set for June 16-19. Jon Rahm, the defending champion, comes in as one of the favorites.
While Mickelson will be there, Tiger Woods will not. The 15-time Major champion announced Tuesday that he is skipping the tournament to prepare for the 150th Open Championship next month.
“I previously informed the USGA that I will not be competing in the U.S. Open as my body needs more time to get stronger for major championship golf,” Woods wrote on Twitter. “I do hope and plan to be ready to play in Ireland at JP McManus Pro-Am and at The Open next month. I’m excited to get back out there soon.”