LIV golfers cleared to compete at The Open

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Golfers playing in the LIV Golf Invitational Series have been cleared by the R&A to compete at next month's 150th Open at St Andrews.

The PGA Tour announced earlier this month that any players who sign up and compete on the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit will be indefinitely suspended.

Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau are among those to have defected.

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Brooks Koepka is expected to be the next big name to follow ahead of LIV Golf's second event in Portland next week.

However, like the USGA prior to last week's U.S. Open, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers confirmed on Wednesday that LIV participants can compete at The Open.

"The Open is golf’s original Championship and since it was first played in 1860, openness has been fundamental to its ethos and unique appeal," Slumbers said in a statement.

"Players who are exempt or have earned a place through qualifying for The 150th Open in accordance with the entry terms and conditions will be able to compete in the Championship at St Andrews.

"We are focused on staging a world class Championship in July and celebrating this truly historic occasion for golf.

"We will invest the proceeds of The Open, as we always do, for the benefit of golf which reflects our purpose to ensure that the sport is thriving 50 years from now."

The R&A's statement comes amid reports that the PGA Tour is laying out plans to increase the prize fund at several marquee events, as well as revamping its schedule.

In an attempt to compete with the burgeoning LIV Golf Series, it is claimed that the purse at limited-field events will increase to at least $20million, with a lucrative fall schedule to be introduced for the world's top 50 players.

One player who will not be making the switch is world number four Colin Morikawa, who confirmed on Tuesday that he is staying put with the PGA Tour.