Sports

Rebels to learn they ‘can’t have their cake and eat it’


Golf’s great and good have warned the players who have signed with the Saudi rebel circuit that their routes to the majors may soon be blocked and that they should not expect to appear in any future Ryder Cups.

s the third round of the 122nd US Open featured a stellar leaderboard featuring the world’s top three pros, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, the LIV Series participants were conspicuous by their absence.

Fifteen of them set out, but only four survived the cut, with Dustin Johnson the best placed in a tie for 31st.

For the likes of Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na, the season’s third major was a huge anticlimax and they were left to go away to work on their games in preparation for the second no-cut $25 million LIV event that takes place in Portland, Oregon, in 12 days’ time.

That 48-man field is set to be announced early this week and rumours are rife that there could be a few new big names in the their ranks, with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama a strong mention in the locker room.

But as well as being assured of an indefinite ban from the PGA Tour, the rebels should also be mindful of the effect that any continuing inability to earn ranking points will have on their major hopes.

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Dustin Johnson in action during the third round of the US Open

While next month’s Open Championship will emulate the US Open in allowing any eligible player to compete at St Andrews, next year’s majors could be a problem, even if the respective organisers permit the LIV crowd to play.

“What is clear at the moment, with LIV Golf being 54-hole events and not offering any world ranking points, is that the guys who are top 50 in the world are slowly going to lose their ranking and fall outside the top 50 and that’s what gets most of these big names in the majors,” Paul McGinley, the former Ryder Cup captain-turned Sky Sports analyst, said.

“The only guys who will probably be eligible by the time next year comes around at the Masters in April could well be past champions, under the current criteria, because the others may all have fallen out of the top 50,” added McGinley.

“It will be interesting to see what is going to happen, as there are so many things and scenarios that can play out.”

The Masters is an invitational and could conceivably refuse to grant entry to those former champions such as Mickelson, Johnson, Garcia, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel. The same applies to the US PGA. Gary Player also believes the LIV players should now consider the Ryder Cup a no-go zone.

“LIV are entitled to have their tour and the PGA Tour are entitled to have their tour,” said the South African. “If somebody wants to leave the PGA Tour, that’s their choice. You are not going to stop them. If they want to leave, they are going to leave.

“But once you leave the PGA Tour, and you join the LIV tour, you can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t resign from a business and expect to go back.

“They’ve decided to be on the LIV tour, that’s it. But don’t expect the courtesies and the other things that happen — like Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup — to be participating in it.”

Player has conceded that it is “all about money” and even the majors have to try to keep up with the dramatic rises in prize money. Out of a £14.3m prize pot, a record for the majors, today’s winner will earn £2.54m — almost £750,000 more than last year. However, in each of the regular LIV events the champion receives £3.3m.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]



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