LIV golfers welcome at Augusta National for Masters, paving way for Cam Smith to challenge in 2023

Augusta National will open their doors to LIV Golf’s biggest names, confirming players from the breakaway tour will be eligible to compete in the 2023 Masters if they meet the established qualifying criteria.

That includes Open champion Cameron Smith, who receives an automatic five-year exemption as a winner of one of golf’s other three majors.

The decision will be viewed as a major victory for the Saudi-backed series with the US PGA Tour having suspended players jumping across to the rebel circuit.

LIV Golf has lured away some of the US PGA Tour’s top players with huge sums of money, leading to a simmering feud within the sport.

“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,” Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement.

“Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honour the tradition of bringing together a pre-eminent field of golfers this coming April.

“We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport, At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges through the years, will endure again.”

Under current criteria LIV’s marquee names, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel will all tee it up April 6-9 at Augusta National qualifying for the year’s first major as past Masters champions which comes with a lifetime exemption.

Cam Smith plays a shot in front of the crowd
Cameron Smith’s best performance at the Masters came in 2020, when he tied for second.(Getty Images:  Jamie Squire)

Open champion Smith, former US Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka and former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau will also receive invitations.

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