The United States Golf Association has confirmed that it won’t stand in the way of any players competing in next week’s U.S. Open regardless of their ties to LIV Golf.
The likes of Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na and Sergio Garcia already qualified for next week’s Major at Brookline but they all resigned from the PGA Tour on Tuesday, with reports suggesting they did so to avoid disciplinary action and a potential ban from golf’s majors.
Louis Oosthuizen is another exempt into next week’s third men’s Major of the year but despite teeing up this week at Centurion Club in London against the wishes of the PGA Tour, the USGA won’t stop those taking part in the Saudi-backed opener from competing in the U.S. Open.
“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.’’
The last man into the LIV field this week, Phil Mickelson opted not to resign from the PGA Tour, admitting in quotes to Sports Illustrated earlier this week that he expected to compete at Brookline next week courtesy of his PGA Championship winning exemption.
“I’ve had many conversations with the organisations 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.’’
The USGA added that their willingness to permit those eligible to compete next week should not be interpreted as a decision to support one entity over another:
“Our decision regarding our field for the 2022 U.S. Open should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organising entity, nor supportive of any individual player actions or comments,’’ the USGA said.
“Rather, it is simply a response to whether or not the USGA views playing in an alternative event, without the consent of their home tour, an offence that should disqualify them for the U.S. Open.’’
The U.S. Open takes place at The Country Club at Brookline from June 16-19. The full field will be known following this week’s RBC Canadian Open.