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LIV Golf Rebels will be allowed to play in the Masters

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The Masters will allow LIV Golf players to compete at the Augusta National this year, after the tournament chiefs chose not to bar them from competing.

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In what will be seen as a major victory for the Saudi-backed maverick series, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Breson Dechambeau will be among at least 15 attendees at golf’s most prestigious LIV tournament in April.

The decision comes amid an ongoing war between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, after a string of high-profile names defected to the new series.

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Phil Mickelson (left), winner of the Masters in 2004, 2006 and 2010, will play again in 2023.

Phil Mickelson (left), winner of the Masters in 2004, 2006 and 2010, will play again in 2023.

The Masters organizers chose not to ban players who defected to LIV Golf
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The Masters organizers chose not to ban players who defected to LIV Golf

The Masters organizers chose not to ban players who defected to LIV Golf

In a statement released Tuesday, Augusta National Golf Club President Fred Ridley said: “Sadly, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the merits of the game and the tremendous legacy of those who built it.

Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is on honoring the tradition of bringing together an outstanding field of golfers this coming April.

Therefore, as invitations are sent out this week, we will be inviting those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament. As we’ve said in the past, we look at every aspect of the tournament each year, and any adjustments or changes to the invitation criteria for future tournaments will be announced in April.

“We have reached a key point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges over the years, will continue again.

In short, at least 15 players currently competing on the LIV golf course will be part of the course at Augusta National.

Former Masters champions Mickelson, Johnson, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reid and Sergio Garcia of Spain and Charles Schwartzl of South Africa are included in that group.

Australian Cameron Smith will receive an invite after winning the 2022 Open Championship, while DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will be allowed to head to Augusta by virtue of his US Open wins in the past five years.

LIV Golf, lead by Greg Norman (right), created a gap down the middle of the golf

LIV Golf, lead by Greg Norman (right), created a gap down the middle of the golf

LIV Golf, lead by Greg Norman (right), created a gap down the middle of the golf

At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges over the years, will catch on again

Masters Chair Fred Ridley

Joaquin Niemann of Chile qualified for the event by virtue of being in the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings before leaving the PGA Tour in September.

Tallor Gooch, Harold Varner III, Jason Kukrak, Kevin Na, and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa reside in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.

Prior to The Masters’ decision, there was a lot of uncertainty as to whether the golf divide was so strong that the LIV Rebels would be kept out of the majors in 2023.

The decision to let them compete is a huge boost for the likes of Smith – a LIV golfer and current Open champion – who has previously spoken of his desperation to keep playing in the year’s Big Four tournaments.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year, the world number 3 said: “I think big business should stand above all politics.

If they really want the best product and the best players to play against each other in the world, they should let us play. There is no reason other than to play another round to suggest we should not play.

We are definitely good enough players. We must have those sites.

The Masters tournament became the second of the four major tournaments to announce its decision to allow LIV golfers to compete, after The Open confirmed that it would not prevent anyone from playing in the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

The Masters team has now followed suit, leaving only the PGA Championship and US Open to decide their position.

These four tournaments are separate from the main PGA Tour circuit, which has been very vocal in its criticism of the breakaway tour, as the pair have been locked in a sports civil war since the conception of the LIV.

Norman was the polarizing chair – as chief executive and commissioner – of the Saudi-backed constituency and received criticism from senior figures on the tour, not least Tiger Woods and McIlroy.

In one interview, McIlroy was described as being “brainwashed” by the PGA Tour, which led to the Northern Irishman’s decision to become a thorn in his rival’s side.

McIlroy told Irish Independent.

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