Like Mike Whan, the boss of the USGA (United States Golf Association), questioned before the US Open, won by the Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, on the future of the dissident players of LIV Golf, Martin Slumbers, the general manager of the Royal & Ancient, adopted almost the same discourse.
No firm and definitive bans from 2023 – “this is not on the agenda” – but rather adjustments, in particular in the qualification process currently in force.
Martin Slumbers, statements
“We are going to review our exemption and qualification criteria for the Open, explained Martin Slumbers.
Although we do this every year, we reserve the right to make changes if our committee deems it appropriate. Players must earn their place in The Open and this is fundamental to its philosophy and unique global appeal! However, he did not hide his disapproval of the concept launched at the beginning of June with the LIV Golf Invitational Series, led by Greg Norman and supported to the tune of millions of dollars by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
“Professional golfers have the right to choose where they want to play and to accept the money offered to them. But I believe the pattern we saw at Centurion (June 9-11) and Pumpkin Ridge (June 30-July 2) is not in the best long-term interest of the sport as a whole.
He is here entirely motivated by money. We believe this undermines the merit-based culture and competitive spirit that makes golf so special. This sport is much more than just a professional sport, and we should all remember that.
Slumbers, on the other hand, did not wish to comment on LIV Golf’s request to be included in the world ranking, leaving the competent Commission (of which he is a member) to speak in due course. However, he was more vocal about the decision not to invite Greg Norman for the ceremonies of the 150th The Open in history.
“Greg hasn’t been here since 2010. He wasn’t here in 2015 either. In fact, it’s been many years since he’s been to the Open. If he had come this year , it would be for another reason that was very clear to us to protect the integrity of the tournament this week…”