Augusta National Golf Club is getting some backlash for its announcement on Tuesday that LIV Golf players will be allowed to play in the 2023 Masters. After the announcement, a 9/11 group came out against aligning with the Saudi-backed league and it announced its plans to protest the tournament.
“Regrettably, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it,” Augusta National chair Fred Ridley said in his announcement.
“Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April. Therefore, as invitations are sent this week, we will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament.”
9/11 Families United — which has ripped LIV Golf in the past — released a statement against the decision.
“We are calling on Augusta National to reconsider their open-door policy to the LIV golfers,” the statement read. “If they are welcomed with open arms, we will be at their front door to protest in April.”
LIV Golf features a number of prominent players like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Patrick Reed.
Terry Strada, whose husband Tom was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, said Augusta National’s decision was that of a “coward.”
“It’s the one place I would have hoped that would have stood up and taken a stand,” Strada told USA TODAY Sports. “Actions do speak louder than words. It takes real courage to stand for the values that you’ve been preaching all these years and to not waver on them, and I feel like this is a coward’s reaction to allow them to play.
“I didn’t have very high expectations of Donald Trump (when he hosted LIV tournaments this year) but I certainly thought that Augusta would have more class and care more about the 9/11 community than this. This is a slap in the face.”
The 2023 Masters tournament will run from April 6 through April 9.