LIV, the boss of the Royal and Ancient explains



by ANDREA GUSSONI

LIV, the boss of the Royal and Ancient explains
© Matthew Lewis / Getty Images Sport

In an interview with Golf Digest, Martin Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, discusses several “hot” issues such as that of ball distance among professional players or the presence of LIV Golf golfers at the next The Open in July 2024 at Royal Troon…

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Patron of the Royal and Ancient, which establishes the rules of golf with the USGA (United States Golf Association), Martin Slumbers spoke in an interview with Golf Digest about the “problem” of balls used by professional players.

These go further and may thus render several Championship courses obsolete in the near future... We have made a decision on what we are going to do (about the ball and its distance). We are currently working on it and will make it public before the end of the year.
“Bullets go further than 15 years ago, that’s undeniable,” he admits.

And I see no reason to doubt that this will not continue. I've been very clear that, for the good of the game, we need to fix this. From this point of view and from an environmental point of view, something must be done. There are only three options: find an alternative, change the very essence of the game, or do nothing.

This third option is not a solution. » “Our responsibility lies in the long-term future of the game,” continues Slumbers. Alongside the USGA, the R&A is the guardian of the game. We are responsible for our times, for what has lasted for hundreds of years and will last for hundreds of years.

So we listen. And we've made a decision about what we're going to do. We are currently working on it and will make it public before the end of the year. » While the Joburg Open distributes the first three spots for The Open 2024 this Sunday, there was also talk of LIV Golf players in the oldest Grand Slam tournament in history.

“I much prefer to see the qualifiers come from tournaments based on 72 holes,” he confirms. For me it is better to focus on the qualifying events at The Open which contain the strongest fields in the Asia-Pacific region during this year (Editor's note, the Director of the Asian Tour thus regretted that the n #1 in the Order of Merit is no longer directly qualified for the British Open).

If we want the best players from this region, this is the best way to achieve it. » The 2025 edition of The Open will return to Northern Ireland, at Royal Portrush which saw Irishman Shane Lowry win in 2019. The Claret Jug which could also stop in the Republic of Ireland in the coming years.

The Portmarnock site, in the suburbs of Dublin, has indeed put itself in the running to host the most prestigious Major tournament. “The course is a world-class links course,” admits Martin Slumbers. But there are infrastructure problems.

We will play the women's amateur championship there in 2024 and we organized the amateur championship there a few years ago. The Walker Cup was also played there (in 1991). I know the club is working closely with the Irish government to provide us with a credible proposal. We'll see… "

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