LIV Golf has shaken up the sport, with several former PGA Tour players leaving for the Saudi-backed upstart league.
Players departing for LIV Golf have already had their PGA Tour status revoked and are unlikely to play in the Ryder Cup anytime soon.
Former Ryder Cup captains weighed in on the new competition and how it could affect the future of golf’s biggest team competition.
Even though I only spent a few weeks as a real, tangible competitionLIV Golf has already created waves that have changed the landscape of the sport.
The starting golf competition funded by the Saudi state fund has ported several star players from the PGA Tour, starting with the following: Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnsonand most recently to add Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka ahead of the second event to be held this week in Portland, Oregon. With LIV Golf with no cuts and bigger wallets, in addition to guaranteed money for many of the best players in the world, more PGA Tour pros expected to follow†
While the ramifications of LIV Golf’s rise are already being felt on the PGA Tour, there are some ripple effects that won’t be apparent for years to come. One notable place where these repercussions will be felt is at the Ryder Cup, where those who chose to sign with LIV Golf are likely to be ineligible to play for country or continent.
To play for their Ryder Cup team, players must be members of their respective home tours. Several LIV players who have left the PGA Tour, including Dustin Johnson, have voluntarily withdrawn their tour tickets before joining the new league, rendering them unable to compete in the Ryder Cup for the foreseeable future. Those who held onto their cards could argue for their place on Ryder Cup teams, but as things stand now, the Ryder Cup forces seem to be siding with LIV.
While there’s still some time left to sort out the issue — the next Ryder Cup is scheduled for September 2023 in Rome, Italy — Insider asked two former Ryder Cup players and captains for their thoughts.
“You support your own tour and that’s who you represent,” 2004 European captain Bernhard Langer told Insider after a round at the US Senior Open. “But now with this LIV Tour, or whatever you want to call it, exhibition tour, I don’t know what it is because it’s 48 guys and three rounds. Is it a tour? Isn’t it a tour? It shouldn’t have really a lot to do with the Ryder Cup because the Ryder Cup is between Europe and America. It has nothing to do with the LIV Tour, period.”
“Of course you want to ask” [PGA of America CEO] Seth Waugh about that,” Team USA 2018 captain Jim Furyk told Insider when asked how LIV could affect the Ryder Cup. “It looks like the PGA of America and the PGA Tour are united and together right now. I don’t know if that’s a fact.”
While Furyk was hesitant to pass judgment on players’ suitability for the Ryder Cup, he was clear that he was not a fan of LIV Golf as a whole.
“I’m disappointed,” Furyk told Insider. “There are a lot of guys that I really like and see them play, and right now they won’t be playing on the PGA Tour. We’ll see. It’ll take a while for things to get going and see where everything falls.
“I’m a big supporter of the Tour. I know those guys – some of them who have left. I know them pretty well and consider some of them friends. I’m just disappointed.”
While the next Ryder Cup is still 15 months away, the golf world could see some clarity about the competition ahead in the near future.
Swede Henrik Stenson will captain Team Europe at the next Ryder Cup, where Team Europe will try to avenge its worst loss in the history of the competition. But according to a report from The Times, Stenson has also been linked to LIV as a potential player. “If Henrik crosses over to the other side,” a European Tour official said according to the report, “he won’t be captain of the Ryder Cup next year.”
In addition, several European Ryder Cup stars from the past two decades, including Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, are already on the LIV Golf roster. All three players would no doubt have become European captains in the coming years, but they may now have put their future captaincy in jeopardy.
On the American side, Phil Mickelson and Johnson may both never be eligible for Team USA again. In addition, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, both members of the team that dominated in 2021, could miss out on future appearances.
LIV Golf has already changed the sport in several big ways in the past month and will likely continue to do so in the many months between now and Ryder Cup 2023.
Depending on how things go, the Ryder Cup rosters may look very different from what fans expected a year ago.
Read the original article Insider