In an expected decision, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club announced Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and other LIV Series golfers will be permitted to compete at the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews in July.
The move mirrors the United State Golf Association’s decision for the U.S. Open to allow players from the LIV Golf Series — which is financially backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — to play in Brookline; England’s Matt Fitzpatrick won the major at The Country Club.
Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka was the latest to defect from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf. The PGA have made their stance clear and will not allow LIV golfers to compete in PGA Tour events. However, events like the Open Championship and the U.S. Open are not PGA Tour events — a clear workaround for top golfers like Phil Mickelson to compete on the LIV Golf tour while also competing in major championships.
“The Open is golf’s original championship and since it was first played in 1860, openness has been fundamental to its ethos and unique appeal,” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said in a statement, via ESPN. “Players who are exempt or have earned a place through qualifying for The 150th Open in accordance with the entry terms and conditions will be able to compete in the Championship at St. Andrews.
“We are focused on staging a world class championship in July and celebrating this truly historic occasion for golf. We will invest the proceeds of The Open, as we always do, for the benefit of golf which reflects our purpose to ensure that the sport is thriving 50 years from now.”
LIV Golf held their first event in England on June 11 weekend; Charl Schwartzel emerged the winner.
The PGA have made efforts to combat LIV events. ESPN reported the tour plans on making schedule changes based on the LIV’s schedule and plans on increasing purse winnings up to $20 million.
The Open Championship begins July 14 in Scotland.