Brooks Koepka took the lead at the Masters on Friday, prompting some golf fans to ask not just if he has what it takes to win but also why he was allowed to compete in the first place.

Koepka is one of many notable professional golfers to have recently departed the PGA Tour for the LIV Golf series, a controversial upstart league sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

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By joining LIV Golf in June 2022, Koepka gained access to larger purses and unique tournaments. But he lost his spot on the PGA Tour, which suspends any player who throws his lot in with the new series.

“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons. But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners,” said Jay Monahan, commissioner of the PGA Tour, in an open letter to PGA Tour golfers announcing the suspensions in June 2022.

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Players who resigned from the PGA Tour or were suspended include Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, according to The Sporting News.

Despite the PGA Tour’s decision, LIV golfers can still compete in golf’s four majors — the Masters, the British Open, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship — since the organizing bodies that stage them can set their own entry rules, as Front Office Sports previously reported.

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Although it’s not a surprise for LIV Golf players like Koepka to be at this year’s Masters, their participation is not drama-free.

The ongoing tension between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf has been a focus of this week’s press conferences, so much so that LIV golfer Garcia urged reporters to ask him about something else.

“You guys need to stop it. You guys are making a big deal out of this, and it’s you guys,” he said, according to ESPN. “Please stop it and talk about the Masters.”

But the questions won’t stop if Koepka remains in the lead. As of Friday at 3 p.m. MDT, he was ahead by three strokes prior to a rain delay.

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