Augusta National made it official on Tuesday It will not stand in the way of LIV golfers competing in the 2023 Masters in April. Invitations will be sent to all players who meet the current eligibility criteria.
It’s been a hot topic of discussion almost ever since Scotty Scheffler donned the green jacket in April and LIV Golf began to take shape. Will the private club, which sets its own rules for the tournament held every April in Augusta, Georgia, update its eligibility criteria to prevent LIV golfers from competing in the first major championship of the season? For now, the answer is no, but the Green Jackets have left the door open for changes to be made as they see fit in the future.
LIV Golf has signed a handful of former Masters champions and there are also several Masters champions who have won their titles in the past five years and are therefore eligible as well as players who seem tied for finishing the year in the top 50 in the world.
Prior to ANGC President Fred Ridley’s announcement, Golfweek asked more than a dozen players, including former champions Jordan Spieth (2015) and Trevor Immelman (2008), whether LIV golfers should be allowed to play in the Masters. Here are their answers.
2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson puts the green jacket on Trevor Immelman during the green jacket presentation after the final round of the Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 13, 2008, in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by C. Aluka Berry/The State/MCT via Getty Images)
“If they qualify according to different criteria, yes. It is an invitation although Masters can decide according to their own criteria.”
Justin Thomas and girlfriend Jillian Wisniewski during the Par 3 competition at Augusta National Golf Club. (Michael Madrid – USA TODAY Sports)
“If they’ve qualified, if they’re good enough. I don’t think it’s just a pity call. DJ, Cam Smith, B. Reed, Charles, they’ve earned it and they definitely deserve to play.”
Xander Schavelli of the United States reacts on the 16th green during the third round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrman/Getty Images)
“If they are eligible, I don’t understand why they shouldn’t be allowed to.”
Jim Furyk chips at the 2013 Masters at Augusta National.
“I would definitely go the high road on this one. It’s their tournament and in any private club you can invite whomever you want to join. In this case, it’s their tournament, their club, they started it and they can invite whoever they want. It will be fun. They’re the first major of the year and that will set a precedent, for sure.”
Colin Morikawa and his fiancee Catherine Chu smile during the Par 3 competition prior to the 2022 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo: Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour via Getty Images)
“The masters have their standards, and unless they change, they’ve got their place and that’s what it is. But it’s on them. Should they be allowed? It’s all up to you to decide what the masters want to do. The PGA, the US Open, the Open, they all have their rules, And if you qualify under those rules, I don’t think there should be an exception.”
Frankie Fleetwood, 4, leans on a flag stick as his father, Tommy Fleetwood, stands at no. 4 green during a par 3 competition at The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
“Potential. It’s a master’s degree and it’s up to them how they see fit. I know it’s an invitation but there are also criteria that I think many players fit in so they still have to be invited.”
Kevin Kisner crosses the Nelson Bridge on the 13th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA Today Sports)
“Ex-Champions, maybe. Maybe that’s about it. That would be an interesting one, though.”
Tony Finau putt the 17th putt green during the third round of the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
“Yes. Any player should be allowed to play the Masters if you qualify by the criteria you have to be on the field, regardless of the tour. I know there will be guys who are going to be in the top 50 in the world and you should let them play. Why would you want to change that? Because some People don’t agree with that? Whatever the standards, it should stay that way.”
Max Homma of the United States plays a putt on the 13th hole during a practice round before the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Reddington/Getty Images)
“Yeah, the big companies would be less without the best players. Cam Smith is one of the best players in the world, Dustin Johnson is one of the best players in the world, and they should absolutely be allowed to play. I don’t think any of us have a problem with that.”
Billy Hurschel takes a look at the changes that came with the number “No”. 11 tees during a practice round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
“Yeah. I personally don’t even know if I personally care. I don’t care whether they should play in the majors or not. If they get the right to play in the major leagues, I think they should.”
2014 champion Bubba Watson helps 2015 champion Jordan Spieth don a green jacket after winning the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)
“Sure. If they qualify.”
Stewart Sink and caddy Reagan Sink walk through the second hole during the second round of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 08, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
“I think they should. The reason is if they do enough to qualify on the world ranking points then they’ve got their way and should play in the Masters. Personally, I’m not for that but I think it’s probably right that they play.”
Matt Kuchar of the United States holds the flag as he lines up during the 1999 US Masters Championships at Augusta National GC in Augusta, Georgia, USA. Mandatory credit: Craig Jones/Allsport
“Yes. If they are eligible, then they are qualified and should be allowed to play.”