Slumbers at Saudi Arabia-backed circuit: ‘I believe the model that we have seen is not in the best interests of the sport as a whole and is driven solely by money’ – Watch The Open live on Sky all week Sports The Open
By Ali Stafford at St Andrews
Last updated: 07/13/22 15:52
R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers does not believe that LIV Golf is in the best interest of the entire sport in the long term.
R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers insists there is no intention of excluding LIV Golf rebels from future editions of The Open but refused to rule out a change to the eligibility criteria.
DP World Tour fined breakaway players £100,000 and suspended them from three events, although players were able to play the Genesis Scottish Open after an appeal, while the PGA Tour suspended members involved in breakaway circuits.
The R&A joined the USGA last month by announcing that LIV golfers would still be allowed to compete in this week’s event in St. Andrews, although Slumbers admitted those golfers might have a harder time qualifying in the future.
Tiger Woods says he agrees with the R&A’s decision to bar Greg Norman from The 150th Open Celebrations event.
“Looking ahead to next year’s Open, we’ve been asked quite a lot if we could ban players. Let me be very clear that this is not on our agenda,” Slumbers said in a pre-tournament press conference on Thursday. “But what’s on our agenda is that we review our exemptions and qualifying criteria for the Open.
“While we do this every year, we reserve the absolute right to make changes if our Open Championships committee deems it appropriate. Players must earn their place at the Open and that is fundamental to its ethos and unique appeal.
The open live
July 14, 2022 at 6:30 am
“I never said that the best golfers can’t play. We will absolutely stick to being open to everyone, but we will consider whether it is an exception or a qualification.”
LIV Golf last week applied for recognition by the Official World Golf Rankings, a process expected to take several months, with The Open currently having an exception category for the world’s top 50
The lack of world ranking points available in the LIV Golf Invitational Series means players will find it harder to stay in an exceptional category, as Slumbers criticizes a circuit he describes as “money-driven”.
Jordan Spieth wanted to make it clear he is not moving to LIV Golf after his agent responded to rumours.
“Pro golfers have the right to choose where they want to play and accept the prize money that is offered to them,” added Slumbers. “I have absolutely no problem with it. But there is no free lunch.
“I believe the model that we have seen is not in the best interest of the sport as a whole and is solely driven by money, which we believe undermines the performance-based culture and drive for open competition that makes golf so special.
Paul McGinley used Mo Salah and the Premier League to explain how the LIV Golf Series differs from the structure and organization of the PGA and DP World Tour.
“In my opinion, the continued comment that the point is to expand the game simply does not have credibility and rather damages the perception of our sport, which we work so hard to improve.
“We believe the game needs to focus on increasing participation, achieving greater diversity and ensuring that golf is truly open to all, rather than having this narrow debate with a small number of players.”
The Open Judgment
July 14, 2022 at 8:30 p.m
There are 24 LIV golfers in the field for the final men’s major of the year this week, including 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen and former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, although their CEO Greg Norman – a two-time champion golfer of the year – was not invited to attend at St Andrews.
“This is a very important week for golf,” said Slumbers. “We are absolutely committed to making sure this goes down in history as (it) about The 150th Open.
The players revealed what it would mean for them to win an Open Championship in the home of golf.
“We decided this might have been unlikely (if Norman was present) based on the noise I received from multiple sources. We decided we didn’t want the distraction.
“Greg (Norman) hasn’t been here since 2010. He stopped coming in 2015. In fact, it’s been many years since he’s even been to the Open. So there would have been another reason for it. So it was very clear to protect the integrity of this week.”
Watch The 150th Open live on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel all week long. Live coverage begins Thursday from 6.30am live on Sky Sports The Open.
https://www.skysports.com/golf/news/12040/12651211/the-open-ras-martin-slumbers-confirms-banning-liv-golf-players-not-on-agenda-in-future The Open: R&A’s Martin Slumbers confirms LIV Golf players will be ‘off the agenda’ going forward | Golf News