The United States Golf Association (USGA) will consider whether to offer LIV Golf members a direct pathway into the U.S. Open.

“We're going to talk about it this offseason, whether or not there needs to be a path to somebody, or somebodies, that are performing really well on LIV that can get a chance to play in that way,” USGA CEO Mike Whan said at his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday.

The 124th U.S. Open beings Thursday at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

“I think we are serious about that,” Whan stressed. “Exactly what that looks like and how that'll curtail, I'm not just being coy, we haven't done that yet.”

At the moment, golfers ranked outside the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking — excluding certain past champs and exemptions — are required to go through qualifying in order to enter the third major on the golf calendar.

This year, players from LIV Golf — which plays a much lighter schedule than the PGA Tour — fared poorly in qualifying. Only Dean Burmester (on a lowkey heater, for you long-shot bettors), and youngsters David Puig and Eugenio Chacarra earned spots. Sergio Garcia initially blew his chance, but got into the field as a final alternate.

Potential contenders on LIV, such as Joaquin Niemann, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed, and Abraham Ancer — many of whom have expressed annoyance at their limited pathways into majors — opted out of qualifying.

“If they really wanted to be here, they could go play 36 holes and qualify. And some did, to their credit,” said Whan.

The Masters extended a special invite to Niemann for his performance in non-LIV events around the world.

“There are no out-of-bounds stakes on our field criteria,” added Whan. “This major, probably different than some others, you can get in. It's not a closed field. It doesn't require a committee or an invitation. If you want to play in this field, you've got an opportunity to play in this field, and we're proud of that.”

All told, 12 LIV Golfers are in the 156-person U.S. Open field. Four of them (Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Martin Kaymer, Dustin Johnson) are past U.S. Open champs. 2021 U.S. Open winner Jon Rahm withdrew Tuesday due to a toe infection. Phil Mickelson earned a five-year exemption into the event after winning the 2021 PGA Championship.

Whan said the USGA will wait to see if progress is made hashing out the framework agreement between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf's backer, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.

“We've always felt like for the last maybe year and a half that we're always three months away from kind of understanding what the new structure is going to look like,” said Whan. “So before we kind of react, what is LIV going to be, what's the PGA TOUR?  … Let's figure that out.

“Now I think the reason we're being more vocal about looking at that for next year is maybe this is the new world order, and if that's the case, we wanted to take a look at that.

“I think it's feasible. I don't think it's a huge pathway, but we do offer other pathways through DP or Korn Ferry, so we know that there's an option to get there. But even that said, since the first — I think they played their first LIV event the week before our 2022 U.S. Open, and in that U.S. Open there were 13 LIV players, suspended at the time playing in our championship, so we're not a closed door. If you want to be here — you've got to want to be here, but if you want to be here, there's certainly a way to get here.”

Bigwigs from both sides — including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, and PIF Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan — met in New York last week. A follow-up draft agreement could be announced as soon as next week, per reports.