Will LIV Golf players feature at WGC Match Play?

Next month’s Masters is arguably the most anticipated yet with LIV Golf’s star players coming up against the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm for the first time in eight months, but could we see a showdown between the rival Tours before then at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play in two weeks?

The event, which will be played for the final time for the foreseeable future from March 22-26, is traditionally open to the top 64 players on the Official World Golf Ranking the week before the tournament.

That list is set to include two of the biggest names on the LIV Golf circuit –  Champion Golfer of the Year Cameron Smith and former Masters champion Dustin Johnson, among others.

Of course, LIV golfers are banned from competing in PGA Tour events, but the World Golf Championships are not solely sanctioned by the PGA Tour. In fact they are organised by the International Federation of PGA Tours, which consists of the DP World, Asian Tour,PGA Tour of Australasia, Japan Golf Tour and the PGA Tour.

Smith remains a member of the PGA Tour of Australasia, while Johnson would expected to be a member of the Asian Tour given the fact LIV Golf has pumped so much money into the Tour over the last year.

Could we see the duo, along with the likes of Thomas Pieters, Abraham Ancer and potentially Patrick Reed, in Austin?

“I don’t see how they can possibly stop anyone in the top 64 from playing in the WGC Match Play,” said former World No.1 Lee Westwood on Twitter when asked if Smith would be exempt for the event.

Westwood could have a point.

Last year at the Genesis Scottish Open, co-sanctioned between the DP World Tour and PGA Tour, Justin Harding, Ian Poulter, Branden Grace and Adrian Otaegui were all able to compete after they won a stay of the suspensions and fines levied against them by the DP World Tour, allowing them to compete in events for the foreseeable future.

A five-day long session was held in court last month to determine the outcome of that case, with a decision expected within the next few months.

The full field for the WGC Match Play is set to be announced next week. Get your popcorn ready.

 

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