The Masters will send out invitations to players who meet certain criteria, including those who left for LIV Golf such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Cameron Smith.
The war over the last several months between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour has been very public and very vocal, with lawsuits, countersuits, and no shortage of animosity and bad blood.
Previously, the PGA Tour maintained that any golfer who defected to LIV would be banned from PGA Tour events — and they were. On Tuesday, however, the Masters announced that any golfer who meets the qualification standards for the 2023 tournament at Augusta National from April 6-9 will be allowed to play, including LIV golfers.
At least 16 LIV Golf players will be allowed to play, including six past Masters champions Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, and Patrick Reed. Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Cameron Smith also qualify for having won major tournaments in the past five years. Other players who qualify based on their current FedEx Cup and world rankings include Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, and Harold Varner III.
“We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport,” tournament chair Fred Ridley said in his statement. “At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges through the years, will endure again.”
LIV Golf, owned and backed by the Saudi Arabian government, spent hundreds of millions of dollars luring in top players with guaranteed money and never-before-seen prize pools. Innovations included a team format, 54-hole tournaments, shotgun starts, and no cuts. Schwartzel won $4.75 million at LIV’s inaugural event at Centurion, way more than Scottie Scheffler’s $2.7 million payout for winning the 2022 Masters.
This spurred a slew of changes from the PGA Tour to prevent further defection, with larger prize pools for key events and a stadium-style Monday Night Golf series led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy debuting in 2024.
Moving forward for LIV, there are suits and countersuits going with the PGA Tour, its COO Atul Khosla resigned over the weekend, and a 14-team competition is set to launch in February.
- Seattle Storm Reveal Big Plans for Immortalizing Sue Bird
- Athletics Stadium Saga: Where Things Stand in Oakland and Las Vegas
- Michael Jordan’s Pre-Nike, Game-worn Team USA Converse Shoes Up for Auction
- PGA Tour-LIV Golf Merger Shocker Means the Sport Will Never Be the Same
- Everything You Need to Know About the Apple Vision Pro