Golf chief Phil Mickelson labelled 'd---' offers LIV direct message

USGA chief executive Mike Whan says he will proudly welcome LIV Golf League players with open arms to the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No.2.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson

United States Golf Association boss Mike Whan says he will proudly welcome LIV Golf players with 'open arms' to the third major of the year. 

Whan made the comments in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. 

When LIV Golf officially launched in June 2022 one immediate question was how the governing bodies of the four majors would react. 

It was clear that LIV had upset the status quo.

For evidence of that, consider the fact Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, stated LIV was 'not in the best interests of the game' before the landmark 150th Open at St Andrews. 


His thoughts were later echoed by the PGA of America boss, Seth Waugh, who was not happy with the 'division' that LIV created. 

And the green jackets at Augusta National weren't too pleased, either. 

Whan also hit the headlines when he said he didn't think people cared about LIV. 

"And I don't see how it's a survivable business model," he said. 

He was memorably called out by Phil Mickelson last May after the USGA altered their qualifying criteria which had a direct impact on one of their players. 

Talor Gooch had qualified for the 2023 major thanks to advancing to the 2021-2022 Tour Championship at East Lake but was banned by the PGA Tour after he bolted to LIV. 

The slight word change by the USGA for their qualifying criteria meant Gooch missed out as qualifying via the Tour Championship was taken away. 

"Total d--- move by Whan," blasted Lefty on X. 

"The USGA is not the PGA Tour," added Mickelson.  

"His PGA Tour suspension has nothing to do with the USGA. The rule clearly stated he qualified via Tour Championship. 

"He did not have to play. Whan changed the rule six months after the fact to exclude him. Like I said, a d--- move."

Fast-forward to 2024 and, although LIV do not have a direct pathway to the majors via their league or world ranking points, the powers that be are not fussed about the prospect of LIV players in their fields. 

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson

They just have to qualify. 

"One of the advantages we have versus most other championships in golf is, a lot of other championships call themselves open but we are the most open, meaning half of the spots in the U.S. Open are not held and are going to be filled by qualifying players," Whan told SI

He added: "There is a good chunk of LIV players and other major winners who are already in and have played since LIV started playing and we're proud of that.

"But there are a lot of great players on the DP World Tour, the PGA Tour, the Korn Ferry Tour, and the Asian Tours that aren't in either and they have to go play 36 holes and try to qualify."

There are nine LIV Golf players in the field for the forthcoming PGA Championship, which will be staged at Valhalla Golf Club over 16-19 May. 

When the U.S. Open heads to famed Pinehurst No.2 a month later, LIV will be represented in the field by Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Martin Kaymer, Mickelson, Cameron Smith, Tyrrell Hatton and Adrian Meronk

A number of others from LIV are hoping to join them. 

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