Why banned LIV Golf rebels are allowed to tee it up at the US Open

Banned PGA Tour players, including South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, will be able to play the year’s third Major, the US Open, at Brookline from Thursday.

Also in the field are other banned players Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Kevin Na.

The US PGA Tour banned 17 players last week for their involvement in the controversial LIV Golf series. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel won the first event, while his team also captured a prize, on Saturday, which allowed him to bank close to R75 million for his three days of work.

Only five South Africans – Oosthuizen, Grace, Shaun Norris, Erik van Rooyen and rookie Korn Ferry Tour player Matthys Daffue – will be in the field at Brookline.

Questions, however, have been asked in recent days as to how banned PGA Tour players, like Oosthuizen and Grace, can still tee it up at the Major this week.

‘Change criteria’

The answer is quite simple. The US Golf Association has opted to not uphold the PGA’s ban against the LIV rebels.

This includes the players who didn’t play at the Centurion Club in London last week, but plan to join LIV Golf, namely Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed.

“We pride ourselves in being the most open championship in the world and the players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both via exemption and qualifying, will have the opportunity to do so,” read a USGA statement in the build-up to last week’s golf furore.

“Our field criteria were set prior to entries opening earlier this year and it’s not appropriate, nor fair to competitors, to change criteria once established.

“Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week (last week), we simply asked ourselves this question — should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 US Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And ultimately we decided that they should not.”

The 122nd US Open gets underway Thursday.