Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley announced Tuesday that no changes will be made to the organization's qualifying criteria ahead of the 2023 Masters as invitations to next year's tournament are in the process of being made. As such, all eligible golfers will be allowed to compete in the Masters, regardless of professional affiliation.
"Regrettably, recent actions have divided men's professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it. Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April," Ridley wrote.
"Therefore, as invitations are sent this week, we will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament. As we have said in the past, we look at every aspect of the Tournament each year, and any modifications or changes to invitation criteria for future Tournaments will be announced in April."
While not specified in print, Ridley here is largely referring the eligibility of those who presently compete for LIV Golf. In total, 16 LIV Golf players have qualified for the Masters through its established criteria: past champions, major championship exemptions and/or ranking inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings by year end.
This is the same criteria Augusta National has used for years, and LIV members were similarly eligible to play in the Masters last season.
Past Masters champions that currently play for LIV include Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia; all are granted lifetime exemptions. Cameron Smith, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka also qualify for the next handful of years based on recent major championship victories. However, for the other seven golfers -- including young players like Joaquin Niemann -- future qualification will only become more difficult as LIV does not receive OWGR points for its events.
As such, qualified LIV golfers may play in dwindling numbers as years pass unless eligibility criteria changes or LIV is granted OWGR points. Similarly, it will be difficult for additional members of the LIV circuit to successfully qualify in the future. For those currently in the field, a victory will grant them a lifetime invitation, but a more attainable accomplishment may be a top-12 finish, which has historically come with an invitation into the following year's championship.