USGA chief hopes to open pathway for breakaway LIV golfers at U.S. Open

By Sports Desk June 12, 2024

World golf remains split on the divide between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, yet United States Golf Association chief executive Mike Whan hopes to create a pathway for the breakaway players at the U.S. Open.

No permanent deal appears on the cards in the near future as the PGA and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), which funds the LIV circuit, held further talks last week.

Tiger Woods described the meeting as "productive" but just 12 LIV players will be in action when the U.S. Open starts on Thursday at Pinehurst.

Jon Rahm would have been the 13th if not for his withdrawal due to a troublesome foot injury as LIV representation remains sparse at golf's major events.

Whan wants to change the dynamic between the two competitions, however.

"I think we are serious about that," USGA chief Whan said when asked about creating a link between LIV and the U.S. Open. 

"Exactly what that looks like, I'm not just being coy, we haven't done that yet.

"I also think, if I'm being perfectly honest with you, we've always felt like for the last year and a half that we're always three months away from kind of understanding what the new structure is going to look like.

"So before we kind of react, what is LIV going to be, what's the PGA Tour? We always felt like we were just about to know that answer, so let's figure that out.

"Now, I think the reason we're being more vocal about looking at that [pathway] for next year is maybe this is the new world order, and if that's the case we wanted to take a look at that.

"I think it's feasible. I don't think it's a huge pathway, but we do offer other pathways through DP World Tour or Korn Ferry Tour, so we know that there's an option to get there."

Past U.S. Open champions Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Martin Kaymer are among the LIV golfers to feature at this week's major.

LIV rookies Dean Burmester, David Puig and Eugenio Chacarra all made the field through final qualifying, while veteran Sergio Garcia was added to the list of players on Monday.

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    The PGA of America confirmed Bradley's appointment on Monday after Tiger Woods decided against leading the team at Bethpage Black golf course in New York.

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    Asked if serving as a player and captain at the same time can ever work, McIlroy revealed he has rejected the chance to take on such a role for the 2027 event, which takes place in County Limerick, Ireland. 

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    "Keegan is the 19th-ranked in the world so he has a great chance of making the team. If he does, I think he's going to have to give that captaincy role to one of the vice-captains."

    Europe will look to win the Ryder Cup on American soil for the first time since 2012 next year, with the event starting on September 25.

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