Will LIV Golf's defectors be able to play in the majors going forward? R&A chief Martin Slumbers has explained the governing body's stance

It’s the big question hanging over golf at the moment. The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup banned LIV golfers from competing in their competitions, but will the majors follow suit?

LIV’s defectors were allowed to compete at golf’s four biggest competitions this year, but there are question marks hanging over whether or not that will continue into 2023.

And while the rumours have swirled, the R&A have made the first move with their position.

“We’ll go public in January [or] February with what we are going to do with regard to LIV golfers,” Martin Slumbers, the governing body’s chief executive, told Golf Digest. “But, if you want a guide, go back to what I said in July. We’re not banning anyone. We are not going to betray 150 years of history and have the Open not be open.

“The name says it all. And that’s important.”

Australian Cameron Smith won the 150th edition of golf’s oldest major at St Andrews earlier this year, before succumbing to the lure of countryman Greg Norman and his Saudi-backed league.

Slumbers added: “What we will do is ensure that there are appropriate pathways and ways to qualify. I’m looking forward to seeing Cam Smith tee up around 9.40am on the first day of the Open next year.

“The Open needs to set itself aside from what’s going in terms of disagreements and make sure we stay true to our principle, which is to have the best players in the world competing.”

Slumbers also responded to Donald Trump’s claim that the R&A “want The Open to go back” to Turnberry.

Trump told reporters during the LIV Golf Team Championship – which is being played at another one of his courses, Doral in Miami. “I can tell you they want to come back.

He added: “It is rated the number one course in Europe now. We did a big surgery on Turnberry and it has gotten great reviews, even from people who hate me.”

But Slumbers explained that nothing has changed on that front. Earlier this year he said “there are no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future”, and he added: “We have been very clear about our position. It is unchanged.”

Alex Perry


Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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