The USGA will allow players who compete in this week's LIV Golf debut event in England to compete in next week's US Open.
Ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational London event, the governing body announced their position in regards to players who have already qualified for the 2022 US Open.
The statement reads:
"We pride ourselves in being the most open championship in the world and the players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both via exemption and qualifying, will have the opportunity to do so. Our field criteria were set prior to entries opening earlier this year and it’s not appropriate, nor fair to competitors, to change criteria once established.
"Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question -- should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 US Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And we ultimately decided that they should not.
"Our decision regarding our field for the 2022 US Open should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organizing entity, nor supportive of any individual player actions or comments. Rather, it is simply a response to whether or not the USGA views playing in an alternative event, without the consent of their home tour, an offense that should disqualify them for the US Open."
The USGA has been careful in its messaging regarding this issue to specify that they're talking about this year's US Open. With the LIV Golf event being played the week prior to the US Open, and the USGA not knowing exactly who would be competing until less than two weeks before the US Open, the USGA likely felt it could not have made another decision.
The US Open is, of course, billed as golf's most democratic championship, and approximately 40 percent of the field qualifies for the championship through the open qualifying process. However, the USGA also sets exemption criteria that it can and does frequently change.
Two US Open champions, Dustin Johnson (2016) and Martin Kaymer (2014), are competing in the LIV Golf debut event. US Open winners earn a 10-year exemption into the championship, meaning Johnson's exemption runs out in 2026 and Kaymer's expires in 2024. Other players are exempt for winning other major championships in the last five years (Phil Mickelson) or through their standing in the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
Were the USGA to keep its criteria for 2023 the same and the Official World Golf Ranking decides to not award points (or significant points) for LIV Golf events, defecting players would likely be forced into the qualifying process to compete in future US Opens.