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R&A’s Martin Slumbers issues LIV Golf warning

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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The fallout from Greg Norman’s LIV Golf tour continued in earnest on Wednesday as Martin Slumbers, the chief government of the R&A, weighed in with some sturdy phrases of warning to these concerned within the rival circuit.

Among the many gadgets Slumbers addressed was the truth that, whereas the governing physique of the British Open has no plans to ban the LIV Golf players, there could also be a motion to change the qualification course of for these gamers to get into the Open.

“Looking forward to the Open subsequent yr, now we have been requested fairly continuously about banning gamers,” Slumbers mentioned. “Let me be very clear: That’s not on our agenda. However what’s on our agenda is that we’ll evaluation our exemptions and {qualifications} standards for the Open. 

“And while we try this yearly, we completely reserve the best to make adjustments as our Open Championships Committee deems acceptable. Gamers should earn their place within the Open, and that’s elementary to its ethos and its distinctive world enchantment.”

Martin Slumbers speaks during a British Open press conference on Wednesday.
Martin Slumbers speaks throughout a British Open press convention on Wednesday.
REUTERS

The first means through which the R&A, in addition to the Masters, the USGA for the U.S. Open and the PGA of America for the PGA Championship, can alter the qualification course of is by placing extra of an emphasis on world rating factors. That would harm the LIV gamers as a result of the LIV occasions usually are not getting world rating factors, although LIV has utilized to realize them.

Amongst those that are voting board members on the Official World Golf Rating committee are Slumbers, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and DP World Tour commissioner Keith Pelley.

These males having a vote on whether or not LIV Golf occasions are to get world rating factors is an apparent battle of curiosity. So, it stays to be seen how that performs itself out.

Slumbers was adamant to not increase on no matter function he’ll have in stopping LIV from getting world rating factors, batting again a number of questions on the subject.

“I’m right here because the CEO of the R&A,” he mentioned. “I’m additionally a board member of the OWGR and the board assembly was (Tuesday), by the way in which. And that query will must be addressed to the chairman of the OWGR. The OWGR made an announcement late final night time (merely stating that LIV has utilized to be eligible for factors). And I’ve nothing additional so as to add to that time and won’t add to something extra on that time.”

Requested if he agreed that his involvement is a battle of curiosity, Slumbers mentioned tersely, “I feel I mentioned earlier I’m not prepared to reply any extra questions on OWGR. Sorry. The query of battle of curiosity might be a matter determined by the UK Corporations Act.”

Requested if a LIV participant profitable the Open this week would be “the R&A’s worst nightmare,” Slumbers mentioned, “Whoever wins on Sunday goes to have their title carved in historical past, and I’ll welcome them onto the 18th inexperienced. It is a golf match. The Open is about having the perfect gamers on the planet enjoying, and I need to see who shoots the bottom rating come Sunday night time.”

Phil Mickelson (l.) and Dustin Johnson
Phil Mickelson (l.) and Dustin Johnson
Getty Pictures

Ought to a high-profile LIV participant akin to Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka or Phil Mickelson win, that certainly could be met with smiles by way of clenched tooth by Slumbers and the R&A officers based mostly on the way in which Slumbers denounced the LIV motion.

“Everyone knows the disruption that males’s skilled golf is going through and the potential influence it might have on the construction of the sport,” Slumbers mentioned. “Skilled golfers are entitled to decide on the place they need to play and to simply accept the prize cash that’s supplied to them. I’ve completely no difficulty with that in any respect. However there is no such thing as a such factor as a free lunch. 

“I consider the mannequin we’ve seen at Centurion and Pumpkin Ridge (LIV Golf’s first two occasions) is just not in the perfect long-term pursuits of the game as a complete and is completely pushed by cash. We consider it undermines the merit-based tradition and the spirit of open competitors that makes golf so particular.

“I’d additionally prefer to say that in my view the continued commentary that that is about rising the sport is simply not credible and if something, is harming the notion of our sport which we’re working so arduous to enhance. We consider the sport must give attention to rising participation, attaining larger range, and ensuring that golf is really open to all, quite than this slim debate involving a small variety of gamers.”