European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald said Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton can play against the USA in 2025 if they adhere to the necessary rules…
Speaking at the WM Phoenix Open, Europe’s captain outlined Rahm and Hatton, now belonging to LIV Golf, were still members of the DP World Tour and would be eligible if the qualification period was underway.
But Donald, who skippered Europe to victory at the 2023 Ryder Cup, recognises the decisions made by players to join LIV had consequences, such as reduced access to world ranking and Ryder Cup points, as well as financial punishments.
Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter resigned their DP World Tour memberships after they were fined and suspended by the circuit for playing LIV events, thus seemingly ending their future involvement in the biennial battle with America.
Rahm and Hatton could also run the risk of Ryder Cup banishment if the sanctions they eventually receive force their resignations. But, as the qualification period doesn’t start for several months, Donald can sleep tight for now.
“You have to be European and be a member of the DP World Tour. Jon, Tyrrell, as far as I know, are still members of the European Tour and would be eligible,” he said at TPC Scottsdale.
“Nothing has changed there. Even going back to last year, there were a couple of guys playing on LIV that maintained their membership, and I kept an eye on everyone eligible for me to be able to pick.
“The guys that decided to resign their membership, at that point I couldn’t pick them, but at this moment, those are the rules, and so far I’m sure Jon, I’m sure Tyrrell, they want to be a part of it, and they will hopefully adhere to whatever the rules are that allows them to play in the Ryder Cup.
“I haven’t seen too many of the guys. We still have a group WhatsApp chat, and we’re all participating in that chat that we created for Rome,” he added.
“There’s nothing adverse or anything within that chat. Everyone understands each individual wants to do the best for themselves, and I don’t think anyone is judging Tyrrell or Jon’s decision.
“Do I see them (in my team)? It’s really hard for me to answer that question now. What I did so well in my captaincy last year was just control what I can control.
“We’re seven months out probably since qualification starts. We have all this talk about potential deals with the PGA Tour, with the DP World Tour, with the PIF.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen, and for the next seven months, I don’t really need to know what’s going to happen because qualification for the Ryder Cup won’t start until then.”
While the PGA Tour has secured an investment from Strategic Sports Group (SSG) worth $3 billion, it is yet to sign a deal with the Public Investment Fund – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund which bankrolls LIV Golf.
A framework agreement between the tour, the DP World Tour and the PIF was announced last June, but the final agreement, and what this means for the game, hasn’t been confirmed.
If a formal compromise is reached, it could be easier for LIV players to qualify for the Ryder Cup, but as the Englishman alluded to, there is no telling what professional golf could look like if, or when, a deal is struck.
Luke Donald: Rory McIlroy’s Jon Rahm comments were “a little inaccurate”
The four-time major champion said the rules should be “rewritten” for the Spaniard to play at Bethpage, as there is now a realistic risk the Masters champion may not be involved.
“Rory’s comment, he was a little inaccurate in terms of changing the rules for Jon to be a part of it,” he said, observing that as of now, Rahm meets the required criteria.
McIlroy won four crucial points for Europe in Italy, but Rahm and Hatton also formed a fruitful partnership at the 44th Ryder Cup at the end of last year.
They earned two points from two foursomes matches together, while they also earned 1.5 points between them in the singles to help Europe to a 16.5 – 11.5 victory over the United States.
Donald has often heaped praise on his vice-captaincy team made up of Edoardo Molinari, Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts, Thomas Bjorn and Jose Maria Olazabal.
But with an abundance of Ryder Cup experience now belonging to LIV Golf, Donald was asked if any of these stalwarts from the breakaway league could be included in his backroom team next year in New York.
“It’s always a possibility. Again, I do think the vice captains that I had in place last year were very much in touch with a lot of the players that were eligible,” he said.
“Again, the Sergios, the Lees, the Ians, those guys have a legacy and a history and part of the Ryder Cup. But again, it’s very hard to tell. The role of a vice-captain is being around the players and having those relationships.
“We didn’t have anyone on LIV in the 2023 Ryder Cup, so we’ll have to see whether those relationships are good enough. Again, these are all questions that I don’t really need to make decisions on right now.”
What do you make of this Luke Donald-Jon Rahm stance? Could the Spaniard, and Tyrrell Hatton, really miss out on the 2025 Ryder Cup? Tell us here!