LIV Golf rebels allowed to play in British Open | Golf news

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Players who have signed up for the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series will be allowed to compete in the 150th British Open next month, organizers of the R&A announced on Wednesday. The US PGA Tour has banned those involved in the rebel action following its inaugural event in Britain earlier this month, but the organizers of last week’s US Open did not follow suit. That stance will be followed at the final major of the year, which begins July 14 in Scotland’s St Andrews.

“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,” said R&A CEO Martin Slumbers.

“Players who are exempt or have earned a place by qualifying for the 150th Open in accordance with the entry requirements will be able to compete in the Championship at St Andrews.

“We are focused on hosting a world-class championship in July and celebrating this truly historic occasion for golf.”

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Four-time grand champion Brooks Koepka is the latest big-name player to defect to the LIV Golf circuit, joining Mexico’s World No. 20 Abraham Ancer.

Koepka, 32, is expected to make his debut on the money-spinning circuit next week at his first U.S. event in Oregon. Koepka’s management team did not immediately respond when TSTIME contacted her on Tuesday.

The American, who has removed “PGA Tour” from his Twitter profile, will follow a group of stars including Dustin Johnson and six-time grand winner Phil Mickelson by joining LIV.

The series, funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has been stirring up the golfing world since its inception.

LIV Golf has drawn sharp criticism from human rights groups, who say the series is an attempt to boost the kingdom’s image through sport.

The PGA Tour has taken a zero-tolerance stance on the series, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan suspending 17 former or current tour players for making the switch after the start of the inaugural event near London.

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He made it clear that other golfers who signed up would suffer the same fate.

PGA Tour renewal

Reports on Tuesday said the PGA Tour was planning to revamp its schedule with a series of lucrative new tournaments – the clearest indicator yet of a strategy to counter the rise of LIV Golf.

Monahan is said to have explained proposed schedule changes to a packed gathering of players ahead of this week’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

Plans outlined by Monahan include increasing the purse to at least $20 million in eight existing major tournaments and introducing three new $25 million tournaments with no cuts and limited fields. The schedule revision could be in effect by the 2023 season.

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LIV Golf has steadily lured star names to sign with the novice circuit offering $25 million in prize money for each of its 54-hole tournaments.

Other changes Monahan proposed on Tuesday included a return to a calendar year schedule that runs from January to December.

The current “wraparound” season begins in the North American fall and is unpopular with some players who complain that there is no clearly defined off-season.

Speaking at the Travelers Championship on Tuesday, defending champion Harris English said he hoped the proposed PGA Tour revamp could persuade players to stick with the circuit.

Patrick Cantlay described the PGA-LIV showdown as a battle to attract and retain talent.

“If the PGA Tour is to remain the tour of choice for professional golfers, it has to be the best place to play for the best players in the world,” he said.

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