Skip to main content

A few months after saying that there were no plans to ban anyone from golf’s oldest major championship, the R&A announced this week that all eligible LIV Golf players will be allowed to participate in the 2023 edition of The Open Championship, which will be contested at historic Royal Liverpool in July.

That list, of course, includes defending champion Cameron Smith, who shot a final-round 64 last year at St. Andrews to capture the Claret Jug, claiming his first major championship. Also eligible from the Saudi-backed circuit through various categories are Richard Bland, Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed, and Henrik Stenson.

However, a pair of LIV Golf players expecting exemptions to The Open Championship this year will now have to find another way to Royal Liverpool as the R&A has changed specific criteria. The same can also be said for a pair of PGA Tour players.

Two LIV Golf players and two PGA Tour players have lost their expected exemptions to The Open Championship

The Open Championship flag
The Open Championship flag | Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images

In years past, those who played on either a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team were given automatic exemptions into The Open Championship.

However, in the same announcement in which the R&A declared that eligible LIV Golf players would be permitted to play at Royal Liverpool, it was also announced that the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup exemptions are no longer part of the qualifying criteria.

And that removal immediately affected four players, two from LIV Golf and two from the PGA Tour.

On the LIV Golf side of things, the change affects two of its newest members, Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz, who teed it up for Trevor Immelman’s International squad at last year’s Presidents Cup.

As LIV Golf events don’t receive world ranking points, qualifying for The Open by being in the top 50 in the OWGR come the Week 21 cutoff date won’t be an option. Pereira is currently right on the number at No. 50, but that won’t last long. And Munoz is ranked 98th so that definitely won’t be a thing.

Their best bet — and that pertains to any LIV Golf player not currently eligible — will be to earn one of the four spots available at the World City Championship in Hong Kong next month or one of the two spots in the Korea Open in June. Both tourneys are sanctioned by the Asian Tour, where LIV Golf players are still allowed to play.

On the PGA Tour side of things, the ruling affects Australia’s Cameron Davis and Canada’s Taylor Pendrith, both of whom also played for the International team in the Presidents Cup. Davis is currently ranked 97th in the OWGR, while Pendrith sits at No. 112.

While ranked lower than their LIV Golf counterparts, their path to The Open Championship is a bit easier as they can still move up in the rankings over the next few months. They’ll also have chances, assuming they’re in the field, to grab the spots available at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Wells Fargo Championship, and the Memorial.


Jordan Spieth Discusses Why He and Other PGA Tour Players Miss Dustin Johnson More Than the Other LIV Golf Defectors