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How LIV Golf Players Can Qualify for Major Championships

How LIV Golf Players Can Quality for Major Championships
(Sipa US/Alamy)

The flying dollar bills in the LIV Golf League have tempted many accomplished golfers to jump ship from their former tours in pursuit of better paydays. Nonetheless, sooner or later, a player realizes there is more to golf than the tournament winnings, like the thrill of winning a major trophy. One major setback that LIV golfers face is their exclusion from the OWGR system, which has seen most members plummet in the rankings, affecting their chances of qualifying for major tournaments. However, a few avenues remain, and below, we address how LIV players can book their slots to participate in golf’s four major events.

Masters Tournament

The Masters Tournament is the first major event of the year, played in April at Augusta National, Georgia. Former Masters winners have a lifetime invitation to compete, and golfers among the world’s top 50 by year-end or the week before the tournament are also eligible, as are most of the previous year’s PGA TOUR winners. Others include major championship winners within the last five years, current champions of the major amateur championships, and those with special invitations.

LIV golfers, therefore, only have four ways to qualify for the Augusta tournament: be a former Masters champion, rank among the world’s top 50 before the event, have won a major trophy in the last five years, or receive a special invitation. The OWGR rankings have always been the easiest route for players to qualify, but LIV Golf’s exclusion from the system blocks most of the league’s golfers. The Saudi league’s players that have so far qualified for the Masters include:

Former Masters champions: Sergio Garcia (2017), Dustin Johnson (2020), Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010), Jon Rahm (2023), Patrick Reed (2018), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bubba Watson (2012, 2014).

Recent major champions: Bryson Dechambeau (2020 U.S. Open), Brooks Koepka (2023 PGA Championship), Cameron Smith (2022 Open Championship).

Golfers with special invitations: Joaquin Niemann.

Players ranked in the world’s top 50 by the end of 2023: Tyrrell Hatton and Adrian Meronk.

PGA Championship

The year’s second major tournament is the PGA Championship, played in May. Previous PGA Championship winners have a lifetime invitation to compete, with leading players from the world rankings and recent champions of the other three majors also eligible to participate. Other players in the field include all the previous year’s PGA TOUR champions, winners of qualifiers held among PGA of America members, and 20 club professionals who are non-tour regulars.

The easiest way for a LIV golfer to qualify is to either be a previous PGA Championship winner or a recent champion in the other three majors. The LIV players below have already qualified for the 2024 PGA Championship:

Former PGA Championship winners: Brooks Koepka (2018, 2019, 2023), Phil Mickelson (2021), Martin Kaymer (2010).

Recent champions in the other three majors: Bryson Dechambeau (2020 U.S. Open), Dustin Johnson (2020 Masters), and Cameron Smith (2022 Open Championship).

U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is the year’s third major, happening every June. It is notorious for being played on extra difficult courses, making it hard for golfers to win with a score much under par. U.S. Open champions are exempt for the next ten years, with other participants including previous year’s money list leaders worldwide, golfers currently ranked high in the OWGR, and recent major champions. Other qualifiers are leading amateurs from recent USGA events and winners of the two rounds of open qualification events.

LIV golfers that have already secured 2024 U.S. Open slots include:

Former U.S. Open champions: Bryson Dechambeau (2020), Dustin Johnson (2016), Brooks Koepka (2018), Martin Kaymer (2014).

Recent major champions: Phil Mickelson (2021 PGA Championship) and Cameron Smith (2022 Open Championship).

The Open

The fourth and last major of the year is The Open Championship, played on a links course every July The field comprises former Open Championship winners under age 60, recent professional major and amateur champions, and leading golfers from the world rankings. Additionally, the R&A conducts qualifying events on all continents to give leading golfers from around the globe a chance to enter.

LIV players so far qualified for the 2024 Open Championship include:

Previous Open champions: Henrik Stenson (2016), Louis Oosthuizen (2010), Cameron Smith (2022), Phil Mickelson (2013).

Recent professional major winners: Brooks Koepka (2023 PGA Championship), Dustin Johnson (2020 Masters), Bryson Dechambeau (2020 U.S. Open).

Winners of qualifying events: David Puig (2024 Malaysian Open), Dean Burmester (2023 Joburg Open), Joaquin Niemann (2023 Australian Open).

Final Thoughts

With the major tournaments about to commence in April, some LIV Golf players are burning the midnight oil trying to book their slots through qualifying events. The Saudi league is still actively lobbying governing bodies and stakeholders to consider including LIV Golf in the OWGR ranking system, although the chances remain slim. With ongoing talks between the PGA TOUR and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, it remains to be seen how LIV golfers’ participation in future major tournaments will pan out.