Day welcomes LIV stars playing British Open

Australian former world No.1 Jason Day has endorsed the Royal and Ancient's decision to allow LIV Golf stars to play at the British Open.

JASON DAY. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jason Day has welcomed the Royal and Ancient's decision to allow LIV Golf players to tee up at the 2023 British Open at Royal Liverpool.

While no great surprise after R&A chief Martin Slumbers forecast not banning players from the Saudi-backed breakaway league last October, Day suspects Tuesday's confirmation won't go down well with some.

But Australia's former world No.1 was personally delighted to learn the likes of countryman Cameron Smith and his American "mates" Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson can contest golf's oldest major in July.

Mickelson continues to be eligible for the British Open as a past champion, as are Smith and fellow LIV players Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen.

Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau qualified with top-10 finishes last year at St Andrews, while Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed will compete through their major championship victories since 2018.

Thomas Pieters and Richard Bland are also eligible after finishing in the top 30 in last year's Race to Dubai standings while Joaquin Niemann and Talor Gooch claimed spots with their top-30 placings in the 2022 FedEx Cup standings.

"For some of the guys that voiced their opinions about LIV, it will probably be a little bit more awkward in regards to that," Day said on Wednesday of the R&A's decision.

"Actually, I miss the guys. I miss the guys that left.

"In regards to some of those guys like Phil and Dustin, Cammy and all those guys, it's kind of sad that they left.

"But I'm OK with them coming back. The majors should have the best players in the world and I think those guys deserve the right to go in and play the major championships.

"Will it be awkward for some? Yes. For me, it won't be because I'll be catching up with some mates, which is going to be great and I'm hoping that I get to see them."

Slumbers signalled the R&A's intention four months ago.

"Go back to what I said in July. We're not banning anyone. We are not going to betray 150 years of history and have the Open not be open," he said.

"The name says it all. And that's important."

Although suspended by the PGA Tour, LIV Golf players are also able to compete at the Masters in April, with US Open and PGA Championship officials expected to welcome them as well.