Two LIV Golf players lose Open spots after R&A remove HUGE exemption category

LIV Golf players remain in the field as the R&A announces Open Championship exemptions, but two breakaway tour players have been affected one rule change.

Ben Smith's picture
Wed, 22 Feb 2023
Two LIV Golf players lose Open spots after R&A remove HUGE exemption category

LIV Golf players will not be banned from the 151st Open, but two breakaway tour players have lost their expected exemptions into the major. 

The R&A have followed the lead of The Masters and U.S. Open by allowing LIV players who have qualified or are otherwise exempt to tee it up at Royal Liverpool this summer. 

This news was not unexpected, given that R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers previously stated he was looking forward to welcoming Cameron Smith to Hoylake as he attempts to defend the Claret Jug. 

Related: LIV Golf League 2023: Players, teams, captains

"We are not going to betray 150 years of history," Slumbers said. "The name says it all. And that's important." 

A statement by the governing body has confirmed its schedule for the qualifying events and exemption categories for the 2023 major. 

Smith, along with other LIV members Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann and Talor Gooch are in. 

England's Richard Bland and new LIV signing Thomas Pieters are also in by virtue of finishing inside the top 30 in last year's Race to Dubai standings on the DP World Tour. 

There has been one change, though.

The R&A has removed the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup exemption for this year's tournament. 

LIV players Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz, who bolted from the PGA Tour in the off-season, will now have to find an alternative route. 

They are suspended by the PGA Tour.

If you didn't know, players who rank in the top 50 by week 21 of the season get spots into the Open. 

But given LIV's lack of OWGR accreditation, this will provide a very difficult task for Pereira and Munoz. 

They will likely tee it up in Japan and Asian Tour events for one of the 34 places up for grabs.

Of course, it's not just Munoz and Pereira who are affected by this.

PGA Tour players Taylor Pendrith and Cameron Davis were part of Trevor Immelman's International side last September at Quail Hollow. 

Jonnie Cole-Hamilton, the executive director of championships at the R&A, said: 

"We have created an exciting schedule of events which takes in many regions around the world and provides the chance for golfers to earn a place in The Open at Royal Liverpool. We are grateful to our colleagues at the professional tours for their support and look forward to seeing who emerges from each event to book a sought-after place in the Championship this year."

What are the changes?

Elsewhere, The Open Qualifying Series will return. Invites will be available for the top finishers at the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational, Wells Fargo Championship and Memorial. 

Spots will also be available on the DP World Tour co-sanctioned Genesis Scottish Open. There will also be spots available at the Betfred British Masters, hosted by Sir Nick Faldo and the Made in HimmerLand events. 

There is also regional and final qualifying, with 16 spots open at four sites. 

A new exemption has also been added for elite amateur golfers in which the player who accumulates the most points awarded by the World Amateur Golf Ranking in the St Andrews Links Trophy, the Amateur Championship and the European Amateur Championship. 

The 151st Open Championship qualifying exemptions

  • Open champions aged 60 or under on July 23, 2003
  • Open champions for 2012-2022
  • First 10 and ties at the 150th Open 2022
  • Top 50 players in the OWGR as of week 21
  • Top 30 in the Race to Dubai Rankings for 2022
  • BMW PGA Championship winners for 2019-2022
  • First five DP World Tour members and any DP World Tour members tying for fifth place, not otherwise exempt, in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai rankings after the 2023 BMW International Open
  • U.S. Open winners for 2018-2023
  • Masters winners for 2018-2023
  • PGA Championship winners for 2017-2023
  • Players Championship winners for 2021-2023
  • Top 30 players from the final 2022 FedEx Cup points list
  • First five PGA Tour members and any members tying for fifth place, not exempt in the top 20 of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup points list for 2023 after the 2023 Travelers Championship
  • VISA Open de Argentina winner 
  • Winners(s) of the final order of merit of the PGA Tour of Australasia 2022-23
  • Winner(s) of the final order of merit of the Sunshine Tour for 2022-2023
  • Japan Open champion for 2022
  • First two and ties on final official money list of the Japan Golf Tour for 2022
  • First and anyone tying for first place, not exempt in a cumulative money list taken from all official 2023 Japan Golf Tour events up to and including the 2023 Japan Tour Championship
  • Senior British Open winner for 2022
  • British Amateur winner for 2023
  • U.S. Amateur winner for 2022
  • European Amateur winner for 2023
  • Mark H McCormack Medal winner 2022
  • Asia-Pacific Amateur winner for 2022
  • Latin America Amateur winner for 2023
  • The Open Amateur Series winner for 2023

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