Zach Johnson isn’t too concerned about LIV Golf’s impact on his US Ryder Cup squad next year. However, a few others are more concerned about their future Ryder Cup status.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday at the John Deere Classic, Johnson, the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup in 2023, was asked how players who will move from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series next year will train his team. Italy, and Johnson has an idea.
“So what I know is this: To play on the Ryder Cup team, whether you’re in the top 6 or a (captain’s) pick, you have to accumulate Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America,” Johnson said. “To collect Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America, you have to be a member of the PGA of America. The way we join the PGA of America is through the PGA Tour.
“From there, I’ll let you connect the dots.”
Several key players from last year’s winning U.S. Ryder Cup team — Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, along with past U.S. competitions such as Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson — have risked the chance to be part of next year’s biennial festivities .
Reed, known as “Captain America” for his exploits in Ryder and Presidents Cups, said Tuesday ahead of LIV’s next event in Portland, Oregon, that he is aware of the implications participating in LIV could have on his future in the Ryder Cup, however, said it was the “right” decision for him and his family.
John Deere Classic full-field tee times
On Wednesday in Portland, former European Ryder Cup members Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, who could be future captain candidates, acknowledged that they may face Ryder Cup “penalties” for participating in LIV. They hope that is not the case.
“I hope I still have the opportunity, as I’m sure (Kaymer and Westwood) too, to be part of a few more Ryder Cup teams,” said Garcia, “but that doesn’t depend on us now. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed.”
Westwood added: “I mean why would it be threatened? I’ve been playing Ryder Cup golf since 1997 and the criteria was to be a member of the European (DP World) Tour. Now the criteria to be a member of the European Tour is to play four events why would they change that now I have been a member of the PGA Tour and still played four events on the European Tour, and why would the European Tour change their rules so drastically because another tour finds don’t like it or feel financially threatened There’s just a bit too much protection going on for my taste and too little transparency.
“I think as long as you meet the eligibility criteria to join (DP World Tour) you should still have a chance to qualify for the Ryder Cup team.”
Zach Johnson said the PGA Tour is “the route I’m going to take”, but added that he has many friends who went to LIV Golf and has “the utmost respect for them individually”. And despite all the uncertainty that LIV Golf brings to the sport, Johnson is optimistic about the future.
“It’s hard for someone to say that [LIV] will have a huge impact here or there,” said Johnson. “My hope is that it won’t and my always-optimistic brain of mine says it won’t happen because of what’s already been established here (on Tour). I think players are starting to see that, you know what, it’s pretty damn good where we are here.”