Masters not changing qualifying criteria for LIV golfers in 2024, Fred Ridley says

LIV Golf’s request for ranking points was turned down by the Official World Golf Ranking earlier this month. Since then, LIV players like Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau have publicly discussed how the top LIV players should be awarded world ranking points. They have even gone so far as to suggest that the majors ought to grant LIV players special exceptions.

But don’t anticipate any changes for the Masters in 2024.

At the 2023 Asia-Pacific Amateur in Royal Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley and R&A CEO Martin Slumbers addressed the media. The winner of the competition earns an exemption to the Masters and Open Championship.

According to Ridley, the requirements won’t alter for the 2024 Masters.

“If you look back over the history of the Masters Tournament and the qualifications that existed, we have changed those qualifications numerous times, dozens of times,” Ridley said. “We look at those every year. We don’t make changes every year, but we do look at them under the current circumstances.

As you may remember, there was some conjecture last year regarding our intention to invite LIV golfers. However, we adhered to our qualification standards and extended an invitation to all eligible individuals. Our qualifications are highly dynamic, and we constantly consider what we believe to be in the best interests of the tournament, which is comprised of the greatest players in the world.

The NCAA individual champion, the FedEx Cup point-awarding fall event winners, and a modification to the Tour Championship qualification formula were the three changes for the Masters in 2024.

The Masters normally invites the top 50 in the OWGR as well as past champions, PGA Tour winners and high finishers from other major championships.

Meanwhile, Slumbers said the R&A is reviewing its qualification criteria, which will be released early next year. However, Slumbers said recent conversations about exemption categories have been completely off the mark.

“I think it’s very important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that The Open is intended to be open to everybody, but you earn your place in the field and through exemptions and that won’t change,” Slumbers said.

There was a follow-up question specifically naming Talor Gooch, who won the LIV individual championship and made more than $35 million this year. However, he is not eligible for any majors in 2024 and sits outside the top 200 in the OWGR.

“(LIV golfers) made decisions based on what they thought was in the best interests of their golf careers, and we certainly respect that,” Ridley said. “We do have in our invitation criteria, it does say that we reserve the right to invite special exemptions to international players, although we did issue a special exemption to an amateur (Gordon Sargent) last year. So we are always looking at that.

“Nevertheless, these choices have already been made, and we will keep acting in the Masters’ best interests.”

Slumbers continued, saying, “In my opinion, and this is not intended to be a technical statement, there are many opportunities for any player in the world who believes they are good enough to have a chance to qualify and play in The Open Championship, regardless of which tour they are participating on.

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