Australian Open champion Matt Jones to defend title in December despite LIV move
Australian LIV Golf rookies Matt Jones and Jed Morgan will be able to defend their Australian Open and PGA titles this summer after a DP World Tour decision to allow defectors to play in co-sanctioned events.
But Jones was among a string of high-profile LIV rookies removed from PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoff eligibility despite appearing in the top 125 after a new ‘eligibility point list’ was released. approved by US officials following their suspension from LIV Players.
The Australian Open will return to the calendar for the first time since 2019 when the men’s and women’s events are played on the same course at the same time at Victoria Golf Club in December. The Australian PGA will be played the previous week in Brisbane.
Jones, who is competing in the third LIV event in New Jersey this week, will return to defend the crown he won in 2019 after a decision by a UK-based referee granted reprieve to 15 LIV players, including Ian Poulter, who were banned. by the DP World Tour ahead of last month’s Scottish Open.
They have launched appeals and the DP World Tour has confirmed that a suspension of proceedings allows LIV players to participate in events, including co-sanctioned events like the Open and the Australian PGA.
It is understood that the DP World Tour may also not prevent these players from participating in Australian events in the future if the bans for full-time members are upheld when legal proceedings continue.
Jones, who won his second Australian Open title in 2019, and PGA champion Morgan were among six Australians who competed in LIV Golf events and are now Open and PGA eligible. .
Golf Australia is aiming for a full suite of Australia’s top players for the Open, rather than a big-money international signing, with British Open winner and world No 2 Cameron Smith set to star.
Smith said last week he was returning home to play both the Australian Open and the PGA Championship, which he has won twice, although his management has yet to make this official.
Fellow great champions Adam Scott, Minjee Lee and Hannah Green are also on the Open wishlist, with PGA Tour winner Lucas Herbert having already committed to play.
There remains speculation that Smith, Scott and Marc Leishman could move to LIV in 2023 to form an all-Australian squad for golf legend Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed tour which continues to draw criticism.
This week, LIV players were branded ‘shameless defectors from the PGA’ by the leader of 9/11 Families United amid ongoing protests against the Saudi-backed group. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers involved in the 2001 atrocities were Saudi nationals.