From shoo-in for the captaincy to potential Ryder Cup exile, Graeme McDowell tells Steve Carroll that any sanctions dished out to LIV Golf players will only hurt the European team

The possibility of missing out on the European Ryder Cup captaincy was “definitely something that weighed heavily” when Graeme McDowell made the decision to sign up for the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The Northern Irishman was named in the 42-strong field as golf’s controversial new venture gets underway at Centurion Club later this month.

Now McDowell, who contributed nine points from 15 over four Ryder Cup appearances and won the pivotal match at Celtic Manor in 2010, will have to wait to see if the DP World Tour go through with any reported sanctions.

“I realised that I was potentially walking away from an opportunity to captain Europe at some point in my career,” McDowell told NCG at Slaley Hall ahead of taking part in the Asian Tour’s International Series England event.

“If I never had a chance to do that, I’ll be disappointed. But it is what it is. I hope that we all can make the right decisions.

“The DP World Tour have the strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, so do they have to follow along with what the PGA Tour stance is going to be – even though it’s going to hurt things like the Ryder Cup, like the European side of the Ryder Cup for the DP World Tour which, as we know, financially is a huge part of what they do?”

McDowell, heavily tipped to skipper the home side at Adare Manor in 2027, is joined by Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia in the LIV Golf Invitational field, which has potentially scuppered Ryder Cup Europe’s plans for the next decade.

“If you lose the names you’ve just spoken about, it has to affect the product for the next 10 years. And that will be disappointing,” he added.

“The unknowns will be very hard. There will be consequences. Well, what does that mean?

“We’re independent contractors. I have played all over the world all my career. I’ve never had any issues ever, until the Saudi International this year and it’s because of what this LIV Golf product means to the ecosystem of the world of golf.

“They feel threatened. It’s competition. It’s another competitive tour, which is very attractive to the best players in the world, and they feel like their products are being threatened.

“Holding the players back only hurts the players. So when you look at the fallout and how this might affect the Ryder Cup, I am incredibly passionate about the Ryder Cup and there’s a decent chance Sergio Garcia, and Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood might be fairly passionate about the Ryder Cup.

“I’m just guessing, don’t want to put words in their mouths, but they’ll be disappointed if the consequences are going to reflect heavily on the Ryder Cup.

“That will hurt us, personally and emotionally, and let’s hope the right decisions get made.”

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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