When the 2022 U.S. Open tees off Thursday at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, several LIV Golf Invitational Series players such as Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson will be sprinkled throughout the field.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) made the call to allow the PGA Tour defectors to compete, despite tour commissioner Jay Monahan handing out indefinite suspensions to those who played in the first LIV Golf event in London this past weekend. The PGA Tour, however, has no jurisdiction on the Majors.
How long that will last remains to be seen. USGA CEO Mike Whan was asked Wednesday if he could foresee a day when players playing on another tour (LIV Golf) are not allowed to play in the U.S. Open.
His answer was straight and to the point.
“Yes,” Whan said.
Whan is far from the first member of the USGA or PGA Tour player to be asked about LIV Golf this week. In fact, it’s probably easier to find those who have been asked than have not. Brooks Koepka, going for his third U.S. Open victory and fifth Major overall, surely didn’t want to talk about the Saudi Arabia-backed league, saying the media was putting a “black cloud on the U.S. Open.”
“I don’t understand. I’m trying to focus on the U.S. Open, man. I legitimately don’t get it. I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff,” Koepka said. “Like I said, y’all are throwing a black cloud on the U.S. Open. I think that sucks. I actually do feel bad for them for once because it’s a sh*ty situation. We’re here to play, and you are talking about an event that happened last week.”
Koepka’s frustrations have seemed to mirror those of Rory McIlroy, the most outspoken player against LIV Golf and Greg Norman, commissioner of LIV Golf and CEO of LIV Golf Investments. McIlroy, who won this past weekend at the Canadian Open, downplayed the field in LIV Golf, which he said includes a bunch of guys in their late 40s and early 50s.
“A lot of these guys are in their late 40s or in Phil [Mickelson’s] case, early 50s, and yeah, I think everyone in this room and they would say to you, themselves, that their best days are behind them,” McIlroy said. “And that’s why I don’t understand for the guys that are a similar age to me going, because I would like to believe that my best days are still ahead of me and I think theirs are, too. So that’s where it feels like you’re taking the easy way out.”
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