BROOKLYN, MA – USGA CEO Mike Wan said the board felt it was appropriate to allow players who have been suspended by the PGA Tour to compete in the LIV Golf Invitational Series to play in the US Open this week, but added that they could They expect a day when it will be difficult for them to qualify.
Wan, speaking at a news conference Wednesday at The Country Club outside Boston, said the US Golf Association will continue to monitor the professional golf scene as it assesses the qualification criteria for future US Opens.
“I can expect one day,” Wan said. “Do I know what that day looks like? No, I don’t know. To be honest with you, what are we talking about [LIV Golf] It was different two years ago, and it was different two months ago than it is today. We’ve been doing this for 127 years, so I guess [the USGA] He needs to take a long-term look at this and see where this stuff goes. So we are not going to be a quick reaction to what we are doing.”
On Thursday, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan suspended 17 players indefinitely for competing in the inaugural LIV Golf event outside London. Previous US Open winners have included Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell. Monahan said the players were penalized for competing in a rival circuit without issuing a conflicting event. The first LIV Golf event coincided with the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario.
Seven of those players, including Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson, are competing in this week’s US Open.
Two other players – 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed and 2020 US Open winner Bryson Dechambeau – have announced they have joined LIV Golf and plan to play in its first US event, which is scheduled at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, June 30-2 July.
A spokesperson for LIV Golf told ESPN that the full field of the Portland event will be released next week.
“Listen, I’m sad about what’s happening in the pro game,” Wan said. “Mostly as a fan because I love watching the best players in the world come together and play, and that’s going to break that. I’ve heard this is good for the game. At least from my outside point of view now, it seems to be fine for a few people playing the game, but I’m having a hard time Find out how good that is for the game.”
Whan, a former LPGA commissioner, said he would love for golf to be the only professional sport that players control. While Monahan serves as commissioner, the players’ advisory board has a large influence on the decisions of the PGA Tour.
The LIV Golf Series, led by two-time Open Champion Greg Norman, is being funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“I was going to attend the LPGA board meeting, and the players were on the board,” Wan said. “They didn’t report to a bunch of owners. They didn’t report to two guys who had all the money and had all the decisions, and if those two people changed their minds, we’d all have to change our plans. Professional golf has been their sport for a long time, not two for some people.”
“What worries or saddens me the most is that we can get to the point where two people have those strings, and how they act may or may not be great for the game. I don’t know.”
Whan said Monahan did not attempt to influence the USGA to change qualification requirements to make it more difficult for LIV Golf players to get into future fields.
“We definitely feel responsible for this game, and we feel responsible for the competitors who play it,” Wan said. “We sat down and had a long conversation about a week before the US Open. [We asked ourselves]Was someone else playing and what promoters did they play with excluded from this event? We decided to reject it, knowing that not everyone would agree with this decision.”
Going down this path, Whan said, would require the USGA to examine the playing history of the more than 9,300 people who have attempted to qualify for the US Open.
“It becomes a very slippery slope to try and apply that to 9,300 people,” he said.
On Tuesday, four-time champion Brooks Koepka said he was upset that the LIV Golf debate was throwing a “black cloud” over the US Open. He is not alone.
“We pray that this will change [when play starts on Thursday]Wan said. So I can say that you don’t have to ask how we feel about it. I ask 156 players to grind it up there to go to tomorrow.”