R&A chief Martin Slumbers blasts LIV Golf as ‘driven by money’ as Greg Norman torches PGA Tour ‘stupidity’


R&A chief Martin Slumbers tore into the Saudi-funded LIV Golf collection as a cash seize that threatens the sport’s merit-based tradition that has been cultivated over centuries.

He threatened to vary the British Open standards that will make it harder for some gamers to realize entry to golf’s oldest championship.

“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,” Slumbers stated at his annual information convention forward of the Open.

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“However there isn’t any such factor as a free lunch.”

He stated two LIV Golf occasions held exterior London and Portland, Oregon, weren’t in one of the best long-term pursuits of golf and had been “completely pushed by cash.”

These 54-hole occasions with no lower supplied $25 million in prize cash to 48 gamers. Lots of them got signing charges, reportedly $150 million or extra, for the larger names.

“We imagine it undermines the merit-based tradition and spirit of open competitors that makes golf so particular,” Slumbers stated.

He spoke two days after The Wall Avenue Journal reported that the dispute between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour had the attention of the US Justice Department’s antitrust division.

“That could be a testomony to their stupidity, fairly actually,” Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, stated of the PGA Tour in an interview with the Palm Seaside Publish in Florida.

“They introduced it on themselves. We haven’t accomplished something aside from placing collectively a enterprise mannequin and giving unbiased contractors a proper to earn a dwelling doing one thing else, in addition to nonetheless being a member of the PGA Tour,” Norman stated.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has suspended gamers for competing and not using a launch; a few of them, similar to Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, determined to resign their memberships.

The European tour fined its gamers who joined $176,000 and banned them from sure tournaments. 4 gamers appealed to a choose and got a brief keep from being suspended, permitting them to compete within the Scottish Open.

USGA CEO Mike Whan stated final month he might foresee a day when gamers who joined LIV Golf would have a more durable time moving into the US Open. That was so far as he went as a result of it was within the early phases of LIV’s collection and he discovered no must rush to a choice.

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Slumbers stated the R&A had no intention of banning any gamers. That presumably would come with Open champions whose exemptions finish at age 60.

“However what’s on our agenda is that we’ll evaluate our exemptions and {qualifications} standards for The Open,” Slumbers stated. “And while we do this yearly, we completely reserve the correct to make adjustments as our Open Championships Committee deems applicable. Gamers must earn their place in The Open, and that’s elementary to its ethos and its distinctive world enchantment.”

The US Open and British Open didn’t hold out any gamers suspended by their excursions due to the “open” nature of their championships. Even when LIV Golf gamers are excluded from exemptions, they might be capable to try 36-hole qualifying.

Augusta Nationwide has but to say how standards for the Masters may change. The membership is closed for the summer time and doesn’t open till October to its members. Masters champions usually have a lifetime exemption, and 5 of them relationship to 2010 — Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel, Garcia, Patrick Reed and Johnson — at the moment are a part of the Saudi-backed collection.

All of the majors depend on world rating to find out who’s exempt. Slumbers, Whan, Monahan and European tour chief Keith Pelley are among the many eight-member Official World Golf Rating board. It met Tuesday and acknowledged receiving an software from LIV Golf to be a part of the rating system. That course of usually takes one to 2 years for approval.

By then, many of the LIV gamers might be out of the highest 50 on the earth.

The beginning of LIV Golf and the gamers it retains signing — none from the highest 15, although Norman promised extra names to come back — has been divisive in golf.

Tiger Woods spoke out strongly in opposition to the gamers who’ve joined, saying Tuesday that that they had “turned their backs” on the PGA Tour.

The R&A said it had asked Norman, a two-time Open champion, not to come to St. Andrews for the 150th celebration — the four-hole exhibition on Monday, the champions’ dinner held solely at St. Andrews — as a result of it is perhaps a distraction.

Jack Nicklaus did not need to select sides.

“Greg Norman is an icon within the recreation of golf. He’s an ideal participant. We’ve been pals for a very long time, and no matter what occurs, he’s going to stay a good friend,” Nicklaus stated. “Sadly, he and I simply don’t see eye to eye in what’s occurring.”

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