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Presidents Cup

This latest setback for LIV golfers shouldn’t have been much of a surprise

October 25, 2023
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Patrick Smith

Ahead of the 2023 Ryder Cup, it became one of the match’s more intriguing, if ancillary, debates: Could LIV Golf members play for either the U.S. or European teams? The answer was, well, sort of, the qualifying criteria providing very narrow pathways for those not playing the PGA Tour or DP World Tour. (Qualifying points for the U.S. team only were earned at PGA Tour events and majors; membership on the European team required players be members of the DP World Tour.) Only Brooks Koepka was able to maneuver them, just missing out on an automatic spot on the U.S. team only for Zach Johnson to use a captain’s pick on the reigning PGA Championship winner.

With the 2024 Presidents Cup less than a year away, a recent announcement on the selection criteria make it appear that there is even less wiggle room for LIV players to compete for the American or International teams at Royal Montreal Golf Club next September. For the Americans, six players will qualify off a points lists with six picks going to captain Jim Furyk. For the Internationals, the top six off the Official World Golf Ranking will automatically make the team with Mike Weir picking the remaining six players, up from four captain’s picks in 2022. But in the fine print is the relevant clause impacting LIV players.

NOTE: All players (automatic qualifiers and captain’s picks) must be eligible to compete in PGA Tour sanctioned competitions.

That was the same caveat that impacted the two sides during the 2022 competition at Quail Hollow. International captain Trevor Immelman saw the likes of Cameron Smith, Joaquinn Niemann, Abraham Ancer, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen removed from consideration after they joined LIV during the summer. And American captain Davis Love III was without Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau.

While this would seemingly prohibit LIV golfers from the 2024 matches, there could be a way for them to be eligible come next September. If the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund could sign a definitive agreement to create the for-profit venture that combines their assets, and in that deal determine a way for LIV golfers to regain access to PGA Tour events, potentially these players could be eligible once more for the competition. But the series of hurdles that have to be cleared for that to realistically happen would make it seem that Furyk and Weir shouldn’t count on this to be a viable option.