Major chief comes out swinging over LIV pathways: "We don't want to take sides"

Martin Slumbers, the departing chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, has outlined how LIV Golf players can get into The Open.

Major chief comes out swinging over LIV pathways: "We don't want to take sides"
Major chief comes out swinging over LIV pathways: "We don't want to take…

Departing R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers says the governing body doesn't want to 'take sides' in the battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. 

Slumbers spoke to Sports Illustrated after the governing body of golf's oldest major outlined some key changes to its exemption criteria

One of the biggest changes will see past champions exempt into the Open until the age of 55. It used to be 60. 

And Slumbers also sought to address the elephant in the room: the future pathways for LIV golfers.

"Quite a few of the [LIV] guys went and travelled and I would look at how many of them did that," Slumbers told SI.

"We decided to create those opportunities. And I'd add there are a minimum of 16 players in Final Qualifying.

"We felt that is the next best step of progression on this road. We don't want to take sides.

"We let the tours sort themselves out. But I think we gave every single player in LIV an opportunity to get into the Open."


Major chief comes out swinging over LIV pathways:

Slumbers wanted to stress the importance of a new exemption category [the International Federation List] that will see five players added to the field at Royal Troon. 

He added: "There was a change to OWGR methodology two years ago and there was a concern that we wanted to make sure that there was a separation of the rankings for the non-main tours. That's why we created the federated list.

"The top four come from the order of merit winners. There's five spots in there. A few years ago we took the Asian Tour exemption away but that effectively comes back in now. So we've created other opportunities."

LIV player Andy Ogletree, who now plays for Phil Mickelson's HyFlyers, will likely benefit from this change owing to winning last season's order of merit on the Asian Tour. 

Other LIV players who have won Open Qualifying Series events include: Louis Oosthuizen, Dean Burmester, David Puig and Joaquin Niemann

Apart from that Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrrell HattonAdrian Meronk and Mickelson are the only LIV golfers guaranteed starts at this year's Open. 

Slumbers announced in January he is stepping away from the role at the end of the year. 

The 63-year-old has been at the helm for nine years. 

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