As the LIV Golf League strives to integrate with other major leagues and golf organizations around the world, it continues to receive resistance from the most powerful people in golf. The PGA Tour has banned all LIV Golf players and is currently suing several of them (including the league itself) to allow them to return to the Tour. In Europe, the DP World Tour has allowed golfers to play, although it is not clear what solution will be found in the long term.
This caused some bitterness last week at the BMW PGA Championship from the likes of John Rahm, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy who didn’t all believe that LIV Golf players should take the places of regular DP World Tour players. McIlroy reiterated his stance on LIV golfers when asked if they should compete in next year’s Ryder Cup in Rome at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, where he plays in the Italian Open this week.
“I’ve said it since I’ve said it a hundred times, I don’t think any of these guys should be on the Ryder Cup team,” McIlroy said.
The DP World Tour is in a difficult position. It was legally enforceable to allow LIV golfers into their events this summer, but given its emaciated state and the fact that it is nowhere near as strong as the PGA Tour, some notable LIV golfers who play golf might actually lure the tour to generate interest and traffic (even if it’s based on a little drama).
Then there’s the Ryder Cup question, which McIlroy has mentioned numerous times over the past few weeks. At a meeting of players and commissioners at the BMW PGA Championship last week, Sergio Garcia, a defector from the LIV, asked DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley if he and others would be allowed to play in the 2023 Ryder Cup. That’s how it was according to Golf Digest.
“Pelli replied that they can certainly earn points starting this week, but we don’t know what will happen in the next 12 months. Are there any other questions? You could hear the pin drop. it will last at least 90 minutes and maybe get a little hostile. But no. Almost nothing came of it all.”
Golfers can only earn Ryder Cup points at OWGR sanctioned events, which do not currently include the LIV Golf League. Of course, this could all fail anyway, as most former Ryder Cuppers who are worried about their future with the event aren’t golfing well enough to participate anyway. It’s doubtful whether Lee Westwood or Ian Poulter would qualify, and while Garcia or Paul Casey may have been captained, the former doesn’t play that well and the latter gets injured quite often.
“I would not say that I have many relationships with [the Europeans who moved over to LIV Golf] at the moment,” McIlroy said. “But then again, if you’re just talking about the Ryder Cup, that’s not the future of the Ryder Cup team. They played a total of 25 Ryder Cups, 30 Ryder Cups, whatever that is. But the future of the Ryder Cup lies with the Hoygaards. [Nicolai and Rasmus]Bobby Mac [Robert MacIntyre] and who else will come. This is what we need to think about and talk about.”
This is a great point that makes much of this moot. The Euro has a new core of McIlroy, Rahm, Lowry, Victor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hutton and is no longer going to rely on their old lions.
“I think there is a core of six or seven people in the European team that I think we all know they will pretty much be in this team and then maybe some of the younger guys will come up. ” added McIlroy. … But I think we needed a facelift anyway. We’ve been fine with the same guys for a very long time, but then again, like I just said, everything comes to an end. I think Whistling Strait is a good demarcation line.
“It’s all behind. We have a core group of guys, but let’s start with that again, and instead of filling those three or four spots with older veterans, let’s roll in a few newbies, let’s get them involved, and build for the future. I think it’s important.”
Hearing set as of early 2023 on whether LIV golfers will be able to participate in the DP World Tour. It will be important if they are allowed as this is about players who score OWGR points so they can qualify for the Majors, but what about any of them that make it to the Rome Ryder Cup team? Whether they are given the opportunity to play the DP World Tour full-time or not, it’s doubtful that it will matter at all.