LIV Golf trio including Ian Poulter to miss Masters due to controversial decision

A whole host of LIV Golf stars are set to miss out on a place at next year’s Masters Tournament, with Augusta National bosses expected to host one of its smallest fields for some time

Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and LIV Golf champion Talor Gooch are among the players who will miss the Masters in 2019. Augusta National will likely have one of its lowest fields in a long time.

As of right now, it seems that only 77 players will compete in the 2024 edition, which is scheduled for April of next year. 88 players were invited to Augusta for the current tournament; typically, the field at Augusta consists of between 85 and 100 players.

The reduced field comes after it was confirmed bosses at the opening major championship of the year would not be altering their qualifying criteria to allow more LIV stars to compete.

The breakaway league’s representation in Georgia is set to be limited next April, amid its ongoing wait for world ranking points. There had been calls for golf’s four majors to introduce some sort of exemption list for LIV’s best performers who had not already qualified via other pathways.

Unfortunately for Poulter and company, Masters chief Fred Ridley stated that the qualification for 2024 would remain the same, though he did allude to potential future changes. “If you trace back the history of the Masters tournament and the prerequisites that were in place, we have altered those requirements dozens, if not hundreds of times,” Ridley declared in October.

“We examine those each year. While we don’t make adjustments annually, we do consider them in light of the present situation. As you may remember, there was some conjecture during the previous year regarding our intention to invite LIV golfers or not. We adhered strictly to our qualifying standards. We extended invitations to all who qualified.

“Although we do not currently plan to make a change in 2024, we will still continue to examine exemptions as we always do. Our requirements are highly flexible, and we change them based on what we believe will benefit a competition involving the world’s top players. We’ll continue to consider that.

Gooch, the individual champion for LIV in 2023, will likely be the most notable omission. After placing second in Jeddah in October behind Brooks Koepka, the American sensation claimed the season-long prize after winning three times on the breakaway circuit this year.

Despite receiving a £14 million bonus, he was unable to qualify for any of the four majors in 2024 due to a lack of world ranking points. Gooch, who recently moved to Koepka’s Smash GC, is hoping that he can still make it to Augusta in April despite the rejection.

“We’ll see what they [the major championship organizers] all decide,” Gooch said to Mirror Sport in November while he was a competitor at the Hong Kong Open. “I hope to be at the majors next year, you know.”

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