UPDATED 1:08 AM PT – Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Golfers that played in the LIV Golf series and that are eligible, will receive invites this week to play in the 87th edition of the major in April.
A number of players that competed on the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series are now listed as eligible and will receive invites to the tournament, including Phil Mickelson, Cameron Smith, and Brooks Koepka.
The eligibility of players who participated in the LIV Golf Tournament has been a major point of contention in the ongoing rift in the sport. Previously, participating players had been banned from the PGA tour with no world ranking points offered for LIV Golf events.
The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, who is chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. intelligence had previously named him as responsible for the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, although he denies involvement.
The players, along with LIV Golf filed an antitrust lawsuit to challenge their suspension earlier this year, with the PGA Tour filing a countersuit in September.
Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club Fred Ridley made the following statement.
“Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April,” Ridley said. “We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges through the years, will endure again.”
Ridley went on to hint that other modifications for the tournament might be implemented moving forward, one of which is the “Invitation criteria.”
Previous Masters champions who have played LIV Golf events, such as Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, and Charl Schwartzel are expected to be invited as well.
The 2023 Masters tournament will be held from April 6th to April 9th.