Augusta National Golf Club announced Tuesday that any golfer will be invited to play in 2023, including the 16 players who qualified for the tournament under the previous criteria.

The past six Masters champions who have defected from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf are: Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed And Charles Schwartzel.

“Unfortunately, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacy it has built,” Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement. “While we are saddened by these developments, our focus is on celebrating the tradition of bringing together outstanding golfers this coming April.

“So when invitations are sent out this week, we will invite those who qualify based on our current criteria to participate in the 2023 Masters tournament. As we have said in the past, we will look at every aspect of the tournament and any improvements or modifications. Changes to future invitation criteria will be announced in April. We have reached a milestone in the history of our sport at Augusta National in years. We have faith that golf will be strong again after going through many challenges.

The first major championship of the season, the Masters, is scheduled for April 6-9 in Augusta, Georgia.

Australia Cameron SmithThe world No. 3-ranked player qualifies for the 2022 Open Championship and the Players Championship. Bryson DeChambeau And Brooks Koepka They are invited because they have won the US Open or PGA Championship in the last five years. Joaquin Niemann And Talor Gok Before heading to LIV Golf, they are in the field after qualifying for the season-ending Tour Championship and ranking in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.

Abraham Anser, Harold Varner III, Jason Kochrak, Come on Kevin And Louis Oosthuizen They are also in the OWGR 50 and are invited. Also, any player in the top 50 a week before the 2023 event will get an invite.

Whether or not Augusta National will change the rules to make it harder for LIV golfers to compete in the Masters has been one of the game’s most pressing questions in the months-long battle between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour for the world’s best players.

Two-time Open Championship winner LIV Golf Greg Norman And the tour, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has handed out top players in guaranteed signing bonuses worth up to $200 million, as well as the richest purses in the sport’s history.

When Mickelson, DeChambeau and nine other LIV golfers filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Aug. 3, the plaintiffs said the tour’s tie-in with the four major championships prevented LIV golfers from competing in the sport’s most important events. In the lawsuit, attorneys for LIV golfers allege Ridley worked behind the scenes for the PGA Tour.

The complaint alleges that Augusta National representatives “threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf.” Ridley is said to have “personally instructed” players not to defect to LIV Golf this season and refused to sit down with Norman to discuss the circuit’s new business model.

Three-time Masters champion Mickelson withdrew from the tournament after coming under fire for comments about the PGA Tour’s “disgusting greed” and the Saudi monarchy’s record of human rights abuses. At the Masters, Ridley said Mickelson was not invited to play.

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