The Masters will not ban LIV Golf tour players from competing in the 2023 tournament, Augusta National announced on Tuesday. The club said that any player who qualifies based on its previous criteria for the tournament, which will begin April 6, will be invited to play.

There are 16 players from controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf already eligible for the 2023 Masters, including six past green jacket winners: Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel.

“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 chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement. “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. As we have said in the past, we look at every aspect of the Tournament each year, and any modifications or changes to invitation criteria for future Tournaments will be announced in April.”

Phil Mickelson during a LIV Golf event in Miami on Oct. 28, 2022.

Other LIV players who have already qualified for the Masters include world No. 3 Cam Smith, who won the Players Championship and British Open before ditching the PGA Tour for LIV, as well as Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who meets the criterion of having won the U.S. Open or PGA Championship in the last five years.

Joaquin Niemann and Talor Gooch also earned invitations after qualifying for the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship before departing for LIV.

Players who finish the year ranked in the top 50 in the world earn invitations as well. While LIV currently doesn’t offer world ranking points for its events, five more of its players will finish the year ranked high enough to earn spots: Abraham Ancer, Harold Varner III, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Louis Oosthuizen.

Bryson DeChambeau during a LIV Golf event in Miami on Oct. 29, 2022.
Brooks Koepka during a LIV Golf event in Miami on Oct. 30, 2022.

Although there will be no changes to the Masters’ criteria for 2023, any changes to eligibility are typically made each April, as Ridley noted in his statement.

Augusta National’s decision was not surprising.

“It makes more sense for [the majors] to stay above the fray [when it comes to LIV] than to take a position,” one well-placed source previously told The Post. “The world-ranking issue will resolve this over time. It’s an unnecessary risk to draw a line in the sand.

“There are reasons to do it on moral grounds [for being financed by the Saudi Arabian government and calls of sportswashing], but then you have to be squeaky clean at every level. That’s just impossible to do comprehensively, so it’s better not to enter the conversation.”

The British Open also said in October that it would not ban LIV players from its tournament next year, while the U.S. Open and PGA Championship have yet to take official positions.

“We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport,” Ridley said. “At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges throughout the years, will endure again.”