Interviewed on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Martin Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, revealed what The Open’s position would be vis-à-vis LIV Golf players in future editions.
With the attribution of points in the world ranking, the way in which the bodies in charge of the organization of Major tournaments will treat players on the controversial circuit in the coming months are at the heart of intense discussions.
While the position of the organizers of the Masters is eagerly awaited at the end of the year, the first to speak this week was Martin Slumbers, the director of the R&A who presides over the destinies of The Open.
“We will make public in January or February what we have decided regarding the LIV players. But if you want a hint, listen again to what I said in July. We are not banning anyone. We are not going to question the 150-year history of the tournament and ‘close’ The Open,” the CEO of the Royal and Ancient in charge of organizing the oldest major told Golf Digest during the Asia Amateur Championship. -Peaceful.
“What we will do is make sure there are appropriate ways and means for players to qualify. I can’t wait to see Cam Smith pitch his tee at the start around 9.40am on the first day of The Open next year. The Open needs to stay out of the way and make sure we stay true to our principle, which is to have the best players in the world competing. »
Australian Cameron Smith, who won at St Andrews in The Open in July, now plays on the circuit run by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
I didn’t want any waves between two rival tours and two big personalities. That would have overshadowed the festivities.
The absence of Greg Norman, excluded from the Champions Challenge and the Champions dinner at the festivities of the 150th anniversary of the tournament, had caused a lot of ink to flow. The White Shark had regretted this attitude and described the decision of the R&A as “petty”.
“With everything going on, it was clear to me that there was a reason he wanted to be there,” Slumbers said. If he had been there, it would have caused a lot of noise and disrupted the tournament. The Open must be above all that. I didn’t want any waves between two rival tours and two big personalities. That would have overshadowed the festivities. »
After consideration, Slumbers called the two-time winner of The Open in 1986 and 1993 to let him know he would not be welcome.
“I was very polite and very deferential to Greg. I asked him to understand my point of view. And I did it privately. I did not make it public. I never said anything and never commented”, he justifies himself.