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Zach Johnson

They’re in?: Zach Johnson says LIV players ‘technically’ eligible for Ryder Cup

 

US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson has said LIV Golf players are ‘technically’ eligible to play for the USA in Rome.

Earlier this year, Johnson admitted no decision had been made as to whether players who had joined the rebel tour would be allowed to take part in the sport’s greatest biennial event.

However, ahead of this week’s John Deere Classic, the American skipper has now said LIV players could be able to feature.

“These guys that left the PGA Tour that had status and left to play on that other tour, the LIV Tour, they’re still members of the PGA of America, so they are still able to garner points,” Johnson said.

“They’re able to play in the PGA Championship as a result because that’s what the PGA of America runs. Obviously, technically, can still be a part of Team USA.

“So, the individuals that are Americans that play on other tours that are not the PGA Tour, they could play, I mean, technically the Latin Tour or the Asian Tour or wherever.

“More times than not they’re going to be members of the PGA of America for a number of reasons.

zach johnson

“There’s still a lot of unknowns. I think we have a pretty good idea as to what the intentions and motivations are for the PGA Tour.

“But when it comes to the Ryder Cup, our system, if you will, was already intact arguably last year even when we decided as a Ryder Cup committee as to how we wanted to navigate the landscape.”

Despite only being able to earn rankings points at the major championships, Brooks Koepka currently sits in third in the Team USA points standings.

Six Americans will automatically qualify for Johnson’s Ryder Cup team, with Koepka having a win and a runners-up finish in the majors already in 2023.

He finished in a tie for second at the Masters, when Jon Rahm put on the Green Jacket, before securing a third PGA Championship title at Oak Hill.

“Brooks is third on the list. The top six earn their berth after the BMW. I don’t know the date. Mid-August-ish in Chicago,” two-time major winner Johnson added.

“So, after that Sunday the top six are solidified, and then we make our six picks. The next week is the Tour Championship. The Tuesday after the Tour Championship is when I make the picks.

“We’ll formulate 12 by then – he worked his way to second after the PGA Championship because of how well he played at the Masters and at the PGA Championship. The majors last year too, but they were smaller in points.

“He is third now after Wyndham Clark has had a nice little run. He has a really good chance of making the team, earning his way on the team, which is extremely impressive.”

Koepka is the only LIV golfer currently expected to be a part of the USA team as one of the six automatic qualifiers.

However, thanks to three wins on the LIV this year, Talor Gooch is being talked about as a possible pick.

What do you think of the latest comments of Zach Johnson? Should LIV Golf players be eligible for Ryder Cup selection, or should it never have been in doubt? Let us know with a tweet.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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