By Frank Pingue (Reuters) -Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson can compete in the U.S. Open next week after the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced on Tuesday that it will not punish those who joined the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Six-times major champion Phil Mickelson, former world number one Johnson and 2017 Masters champion Sergio […]
Golf-LIV golfers Mickelson, Johnson cleared for U.S. Open
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) -Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson can compete in the U.S. Open next week after the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced on Tuesday that it will not punish those who joined the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Six-times major champion Phil Mickelson, former world number one Johnson and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia are among the exempt golfers for the U.S. Open who are also scheduled to compete this week at Centurion Club outside London in the inaugural LIV Golf event.
The USGA said the U.S. Open field criteria was set prior to entries opening earlier this year and it would not be fair for those who earned a spot in the year’s third major via exemption and qualifying to change that criteria once established.
“Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question — should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And we ultimately decided that they should not,” the USGA said in a statement.
Johnson earned a 10-year exemption after winning the 2016 U.S. Open, Mickelson secured a five-year exemption from his PGA Championship triumph last year while Garcia earned a spot after qualifying for the 2021 season-ending Tour Championship.
The USGA said its decision regarding the June 16-19 U.S. Open outside Boston should not be construed as the national governing body supporting an alternative organising entity, nor supportive of any individual player actions or comments.
“Rather, it is simply a response to whether or not the USGA views playing in an alternative event, without the consent of their home tour, an offense that should disqualify them for the U.S. Open,” the USGA said.
Both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour have declined requests from members who had asked for releases to compete at Centurion where $25 million is up for grabs, including $4 million for the winner. It is unknown whether those competing in the lucrative breakaway circuit’s first event will face punishment.
The decision by the USGA means Mickelson, who has finished runner-up a record six times at his national championship, will get another chance to complete the career Grand Slam of winning golf’s four majors.
Johnson, speaking to reporters at Centurion prior to the USGA announcement, said he resigned from the PGA Tour and hoped he would be allowed to play the majors, which are not run by the PGA Tour.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)