As LIV's world ranking debacle rages on, here's the defectors who, as it stands, will be teeing up at the majors in 2023

It’s the question on everyone’s lips that has become clearer in the new year. Will LIV golfers be playing in the 2023 majors?

LIV golfers in the majors

Fortunately for Greg Norman’s men, LIV golfers are allowed to play in this year’s four biggest tournaments – especially after the R&A made the first move and made it clear the Open won’t be abandoning 150 years of history by making such a drastic move.

This was followed by an announcement from Augusta National confirming that any player who meets their qualification criteria will be allowed to play in the Masters.

In February 2023, the USGA confirmed its extensive list of exemptions for the US Open which will be held at Los Angeles Country Club.

Through categories such as past major champions and the top 30 of the 2022 FedEx Cup standings, a number of LIV players are exempt.

The PGA Championship will also allow LIV players to tee it up at Oak Hill if they meet the tournament’s eligibility requirements.

The biggest obstacle facing LIV golfers to be eligible for majors falls on the league’s Official World Golf Ranking debacle.

With no points awarded to the Saudi Arabia-funded series, and with players plummeting in the world rankings, we currently won’t be seeing the likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, or Branden Grace tee up at the major championships.

But that’s not to say LIV Golf won’t be well represented at the 2023 majors, with a host of players exempt after winning either the Masters, PGA Championship, US Open, or the Open.

Here’s who that applies to, as well as any other LIV player who should qualify for the majors thanks to alternative qualification routes.

LIV Golf major winners

Cameron Smith

After winning the Claret Jug in 2022, Smith is exempt for all majors until 2027. For the Open itself, Smith is exempt until 2053 when he turns 60.

Phil Mickelson

Lefty’s 2021 PGA Championship win makes him exempt for all majors until 2026. The six-time major winner is then exempt for life in the Masters and PGA Championship, and can play in the Open until 2030 when he turns 60.

Dustin Johnson

DJ’s victory at the 2020 Masters means he is exempt for all majors until 2025, and can return to Augusta for life. Having won the US Open in 2016, the American can also play in his national open until 2026.

Bryson DeChambeau

Having landed his maiden major at the US Open in 2020, DeChambeau is exempt in all majors until 2025 and ‘golf’s toughest test’ until 2030.

LIV golfers majors

Brooks Koepka

The former World No 1 can play in all majors until 2024 after winning the 2019 PGA Championship. His back-to-back wins also make him exempt for life in that tournament, while his US Open double – the most recent in 2018 – allows him to play ‘golf’s toughest test’ until 2028.

Patrick Reed

Captain America’s 2018 Masters win gives him a lifetime exemption at Augusta National, but he is only eligible to play in the Open Championship in 2023.

Sergio Garcia

Like Reed, the Spaniard can play in the Masters for life after winning the Green Jacket in 2017. He could qualify for the PGA Championship if he is ranked in the top 100 by May 8.

Henrik Stenson

As it stands, the Swede will also miss out on three of the four majors in 2023, but can play in the Open until 2036 after winning the 2016 edition.

can liv golfers play in the majors

Bubba Watson

With two Green Jackets to his name, Watson can play in the Masters for life. His exemptions for the other three majors have now expired, however.

Martin Kaymer

Another US Open and PGA Championship winner, Kaymer can play for life in the latter while teeing up at America’s national open until 2024.

Charl Schwartzel

Like Watson, Schwartzel is now only exempt to play in the Masters having won the Green Jacket in 2011.

Louis Oosthuizen

LIV’s other major winning South African can play in the Open until 2042 when he turns 60. Oosthuizen has qualified for the Masters, but he isn’t currently eligible for the US Open and the PGA Championship.

Other players

Joaquin Niemann

Niemann played in the Masters and can play in the US Open and the Open in 2023 after qualifying for last season’s Tour Championship on the PGA Tour.

He could still tee up at the PGA Championship via the PGA Championship points list which ends on May 7.

LIV golfers in the majors

Abraham Ancer

Having finished T9 in the 2022 PGA Championship, Ancer automatically qualifies for Oak Hill in 2023.

The Mexican played at the Masters due to his top 50 ranking at the end of 2022, but he is currently ineligible to play at the Open and the US Open.

OWGR qualifiers

Now on to trickier territory regarding OWGR qualifiers. As it stands, the following LIV golfers have all ended 2022 inside the world top 50, meaning they have received an invitation to play in the Masters.

They will then be hoping to hold their position – or attain OWGR points elsewhere – to earn spots in The Open, US Open, and PGA Championship.

Talor Gooch (eligible for the 151st Open)
Kevin Na
(No more exemptions)
Harold Varner III
(No more exemptions)
Jason Kokrak
(No more exemptions)
Thomas Pieters (eligible for the 151st Open)

But like everything with LIV, it’s not that simple. With the league still void of offering OWGR points, it seems inevitable each player will drop out of the world’s top 50 by the time the other three majors swing around.

For as long as we wait for the verdict of the hearing with Sports Resolutions UK and the DP World Tour, LIV Golf players can play on the DP World Tour to earn world ranking points and win events which could then make them eligible.

George Cooper

A golf fanatic his entire life, George Cooper is NCG's man for all goings-on at the top level of the game, whether it's the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA or LIV Golf. He also looks after NCG's Twitter and Facebook accounts. George is a member of Woburn, but is not friends with Ian Poulter.

Handicap: 14

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