Australian LIV Golf recruits Matt Jones and Jed Morgan will get to defend their Australian Open and PGA titles this summer after a decision by the DP World Tour to allow defectors to play in co-sanctioned events.
But Jones was among a raft of high-profile LIV recruits removed from eligibility for the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs despite being inside the top 125 after a new “eligibility points list” was approved by officials in the US on the back of their suspension of LIV players.
The Australian Open will return to the calendar for the first time since 2019 when both the men’s and women’s events are contested on the same course at the same time at Victoria Golf Club in December. The Australian PGA will be played the week before in Brisbane.
Jones, who is playing in the third LIV event in New Jersey this week, will return to defend the crown he won in 2019 after a decision from a UK-based arbitrator granted a stay to 15 LIV players, including Ian Poulter, who were banned by the DP World Tour ahead of last month’s Scottish Open.
They launched appeals and the DP World Tour has confirmed that a stay of proceedings allows LIV players to play in events, including co-sanctioned ones like the Open and Australian PGA.
It’s understood the DP World Tour also might not stand in the way of those players taking part in the Australian events in the future should the bans for full-time members be upheld when the legal proceedings continue.
Jones, who won his second Australian Open title in 2019, and PGA champ Morgan were among six Australians who have played LIV Golf events and are now eligible for the Open and PGA.
Golf Australia is targeting a full suite of Australia’s best players for the Open, rather than a big-money international signing, with British Open winner and world No.2 Cameron Smith set to be the headline act.
Smith said last week he was coming home to play both the Australian Open and the PGA Championship, which he has won twice, although his management is yet to make that official.
Fellow major champions Adam Scott, Minjee Lee and Hannah Green are also on the wishlist for the Open, with PGA Tour winner Lucas Herbert having already committed to play.
There remains speculation that Smith, Scott and Marc Leishman could make the move to LIV in 2023 to form an all-Australian team for golfing legend Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed tour that continues to draw criticism.
This week the LIV players were called “shameless PGA defectors” by the head of the 9/11 Families United group amid on ongoing protest against the Saudi-backed group. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers involved in the 2001 atrocity were Saudi nationals.