Its Golfers Can Play 2023 Masters


Eligible members of the divisive Saudi-financed LIV Golf can play in next year’s Masters tournament, the organizer of one of golf’s four majors announced Tuesday, a major win for LIV as its handsomely paid golfers can continue to compete on the sport’s biggest stage.

Key Facts

Qualification criteria for the 2023 Masters will be the same as in prior years, Fred S. Ridley, chairman of the Masters’ governing body Augusta National Golf Club, wrote in a statement (independent bodies rule each of golf’s four majors, while the PGA Tour and LIV oversee events on their respective tours).

Some 16 LIV golfers are eligible for the tournament, including prior Masters winners Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson, while other LIV players including Cameron Smith, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka qualified for recent performance metrics.

Ridley, who did not explicitly name LIV, did make several incisive comments about the brutal civil war between LIV and the PGA Tour, saying he was “disappointed” in how “recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it.”

The PGA Tour declined to comment on LIV golfers’ inclusion in the Masters, while LIV did not immediately respond to Forbes’ inquiry.

Key Background

LIV had an explosive debut in 2022, using billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to poach dozens of the world’s most prominent golfers away from the PGA Tour. The Masters is the first major on the golf calendar, taking place every April in Augusta, Georgia, and is considered by many to be the most prestigious event in the sport. But LIV golfers’ eligibility for the Masters and other majors came into question this year considering the major organizers’ longstanding ties to the PGA Tour, which controversially banned any of its members from competing in LIV events.


An ongoing Department of Justice probe into whether the PGA Tour violated federal antitrust laws in its efforts to ward off LIV is also investigating Augusta National Golf Club’s role in the conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported in October.

Surprising Fact

LIV golfers occupied seven of the 10 spots on Forbeslist of the world’s highest-paid golfers. Mickelson claimed the top spot with a whopping $138 in income last year, most of which from his LIV signing bonus.

Further Reading

LIV’s Astonishing Progress In Just Six Wild Months: A Timeline (Forbes)

Majors, Monopolies, Megabucks And Donald Trump: Inside The Business Of The New Saudi Golf League (Forbes)