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2022 US Open: USGA CEO explains why LIV Golf players are allowed to play, and what their future holds

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As the US Open kicks off Thursday, USGA CEO Mike Wan explained why he decided to allow LIV Golf competitors to play third this year.

LIV Golf rivals upset the PGA Tour’s blades when they broke away from the organization to play in the Saudi-backed league, and their return to the flagship was put under scrutiny.

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Mike Wan, CEO of the USGA, speaks to the media at a press conference during a training run ahead of the 122nd US Open at The Country Club on June 15, 2022 in Brooklyn, Massachusetts.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“Whether we like it or not, in February 30 players played for the same promoters in Saudi Arabia with an acceptable version of the PGA Tour, and for many years, the DP World Tour had an event there, the same promoter,” Wan said, via Golf.com. “We also had to ask the question, if you’re going to put that kind of paragraph, who’s in, we have to go back to 9,300 people and we played last week but who played when, where, sponsored. It becomes a very slippery slope to try and apply that to 9,300 people” .

The USGA has put the USGA in a difficult position on whether to ban players who have already qualified after jumping at the last minute for LIV Golf. Ultimately, Wan said he doesn’t think the players have excluded themselves from the US Open.

As for the future, Wan said it may be even more difficult for these golfers to get in.

Dustin Johnson hits the seventh hole during a practice round for the US Open golf tournament at The Country Club, Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Brooklyn, Massachusetts.

Dustin Johnson hits the seventh hole during a practice round for the US Open golf tournament at The Country Club, Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Brooklyn, Massachusetts.
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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“There will be a lot of assumptions for me to get at what the LIV will be by the time we talk about it next year, but as we do any year, we will definitely reassess the field parameters,” he said. “We will take a look at what the landscape looks like.”

When asked if LIV Golf players could be barred from participating in the US Open in the future, Whan simply answered, “Yes.”

The tournament is contested by Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel and Bryson DeChambeau.

Phil Mickelson watches his shot on the 15th hole during a practice round for the US Open golf tournament at The Country Club, Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Brooklyn, Massachusetts.

Phil Mickelson watches his shot on the 15th hole during a practice round for the US Open golf tournament at The Country Club, Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Brooklyn, Massachusetts.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Mickelson has never won the US Open – the only major tournament missing in his trophy case. Dechambeau won the US Open in 2020, Johnson won it in 2016 and Reed’s best finish at the World Open was fourth.

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