The Belgian reveals how he had already made his mind up on switching to the rebel tour – despite the consequences. It won't stop him trying to make captain Luke Donald's life difficult, though

DP World Tour star Thomas Pieters grasped the chance to join LIV Golf following a season-ending injury to Hudson Swafford.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Pieters revealed that although he decided to join LIV last summer, the opportunity didn’t arise until receiving a call last week after Swafford revealed he required hip surgery.

The Belgian is arguably the biggest name to join the Saudi-financed league in 2023 following the acquisitions of Mito Pereira, Sebastian Munoz, Brendan Steele, Danny Lee, and Dean Burmester.

He has since posted on social media to say he’d made “a big decision for himself and my family” to join the Range Goats at the first event of LIV’s second season in Mexico this week.

“I had a call on Thursday – not even a week ago – asking if I wanted Hudson’s spot,” Pieters said. “To be truthful, in my heart, I decided last summer that I wanted to join LIV. But it was not until a few days ago I got the opportunity.

“You don’t wish ill on anyone, and I hope Hudson gets recovered soon, but, as a professional, you have to grasp chances when they arise

“Of course, I have done this with my family and our daughters at the forefront of our thinking. It has been a whirlwind since then, sorting everything out and getting everything ready over the weekend. I had to tell everybody, for one thing.”

The World No 35 is now unlikely to play in the Ryder Cup for Europe in September when before he appeared to have a strong chance of making Luke Donald’s 12-man team.

Pieters made his debut for Europe in 2016 on the losing side at Hazeltine, but he left his mark on the event by earning four points as a rookie.

If Henrik Stenson’s removal as European captain is anything to go by, players who’ve made the switch to LIV have little chance of being involved in Rome, unless Donald chooses Pieters as one of his six captain’s picks.

thomas pieters

“I swapped texts with Luke, but he is in a tough position,” Pieters added. “It was a difficult decision for me, for sure. The Ryder Cup has always been an ambition and it was a dream to play in 2016. I’ve been trying to get back ever since.

“I enjoyed the Hero Cup last month and naturally would love to be in Rome. But I accept the consequences of this choice, whatever they turn out to be.

“I haven’t given up on playing in it again, including this year even. We will have to see. I could still qualify. I’m in all the majors this year.

“Maybe I can play so well that it’ll make it very difficult not to pick me. I don’t know. Maybe that will not be possible.”

LIV Golf players have been suspended from the PGA Tour, but they haven’t received such treatment in the major championships.

Golf’s four biggest events represent significant opportunities for players like Pieters to improve their world rankings, maintain major exemptions and earn vital points in the Ryder Cup standings.

Golf fans could be forgiven for thinking Pieter’s outburst on Twitter over not playing at the Genesis Invitational was a sign of joining LIV, but he maintains this was not the case.

The six-time DP World Tour winner was frustrated that his commendable world ranking wasn’t enough to play at Riviera, but as NCG explained, world rankings weren’t part of the eligibility criteria.

“I was talking to my friends and they were saying ‘Hey, we can’t wait to watch that pairing with Tiger and Rory and JT’ and I just became a bit angry that, as a player with my ranking, I wasn’t playing.

“It was just bad timing, I guess, because people understandably supposed all things. But I didn’t even know I was coming to LIV at that point and that shows how quickly all this has happened.”

Do you think LIV golfers should be able to play in the Ryder Cup? Tweet me and let me know!

Matt Chivers

Tour Editor

Matt is NCG's man for all things going on in the world of tour golf. Kent born and bred, Matt is 7 handicap at Royal Cinque Ports and spent many years caddying at Royal St George's before moving north to study history at the University of Liverpool. Away from golf, Matt is an avid Arsenal fan and horse racing enthusiast. He is also keen to point out his surname is pronounced Chiv-ers, not Chive-ers. Matt is currently playing: Driver: Cobra LTDx LS, 3-wood: Cobra LTDx, Utility: TaylorMade 4 DHY, Irons: Ping G10 4-PW, Ping Glide 4.0 (50,54,58), Putter: TaylorMade Spider GTX

Handicap: 7

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