Can LIV golfers play Ryder Cup?

Can LIV golfers play Ryder Cup?

Ever since LIV golf was launched in October 2021, controversy has followed the Saudi-backed golf tour every step of the way. 

A number of big-name players have signed up for LIV Golf over the past couple of years including Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Cameron Smith –  all of whom have been suspended indefinitely from PGA Tour events. 

While LIV players are still able to play in DP World Tour events, players who left the European Tour for LIV are currently awaiting a legal verdict which could mean suspension from that tour too. 

As a result, the Ryder Cup future for all European and American golfers on the LIV Tour is under serious doubt. With the 2023 edition set to take place in September this year in Rome, below is the current eligibility status of those on the LIV Tour. 

Team Europe

Team Europe will consist of six players who qualify through their performances in competition from September 2022-September 2023 and six captain’s picks. The six automatic selections will come from the highest three European players on the world points list and the three highest players on the European points list. 

No European player who is part of LIV Golf currently occupies any of these positions, and due to their ineligibility for some events, it is highly unlikely that they will. It means that as far as Team Europe is concerned, LIV players will be relying on a captain’s pick if they are to play in the event. 

One member of LIV Golf who has made a name for himself at the Ryder Cup is Ian Poulter. Earlier this year, he said that he still had aspirations to qualify for the 2023 event but that he didn’t think he had any chance of receiving a captain’s pick. 

Many European players have had their say on the issue, including Jon Rahm and Rory Mcilroy – Team Europe’s best two players. Rahm has said that he would like to see LIV players at the Ryder Cup while Mcilroy has spoken about feelings of betrayal in relation to some of his former Ryder Cup teammates who defected to LIV. He has also said:

“I’ve said it a hundred times – I don’t think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team.”

Team USA

The situation is a lot more clear-cut for Team USA. Six players will qualify for the team automatically based on their performances at PGA Tour events from September 2022 and 2023 while captain, Zach Johnson, will pick six other players himself.

Considering all LIV players are suspended from PGA events, it is going to be impossible for the likes of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka to qualify automatically. On top of that, Zach Johnson has confirmed that he won’t be considering LIV players for selection when it comes down to deciding his captain’s picks. 

Speaking a couple of months ago, Johnson said:

“In order to play on the Ryder Cup team whether you’re top six or a pick, you must garner points through the PGA of America. In order to garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America you have to be a member of the PGA of America. The way that we’re members of the PGA of America through the PGA Tour.”

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