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Luke Donald: LIV golfers can still play for Europe at the Ryder Cup

Four of Luke Donald’s former Ryder Cup comrades have ended their hopes of being involved in the famous event again – but what about those who’ve kept their memberships on the DP World Tour?

 

In recent days, European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald was gifted some much-needed clarity – albeit in dramatic fashion.

Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, and Henrik Stenson resigned their DP World Tour memberships and surrendered their eligibility for the much anticipated biennial event in 2023 – and for good.

Donald now knows he can’t choose these players, which should help the Englishman narrow his focus on those he wishes to pick to face the United States in Italy later this year.

But when discussing the topic of LIV players competing at the Ryder Cup for the blue and gold of Europe, Donald was quick to point out that some rebels could still appear at Marco Simone.

“It’s a shame there were some resignations,” Donald said at the PGA Championship.

“A lot of these guys have built their legacy (as) DP World Tour members and their participation and everything with the Ryder Cup.

“I’m still excited about all the players we have on offer, both rookies and established players, and I think our team will be very good.

Luke Donald

“In terms of what Zach is doing and his options, that’s his call. Whether LIV players play on his team, again, I haven’t really talked to him much about it as a captains’ agreement.

“And let’s not forget there’s still LIV players that can still play on my team. They’re still eligible if they’re members of the Tour and were born in Europe. That is still a possibility for some guys.”

Thomas Pieters and Paul Casey are two players from the LIV Golf roster that are still members of the DP World Tour – and with major exemptions.

If Pieters or Casey were to win the PGA Championship, or if the former were to win the Open Championship at Hoylake, this could certainly get Donald’s mind working overtime.

However, with limited access to world ranking events, and as LIV’s application continues to be reviewed by the Official World Golf Ranking board, it’s virtually impossible for LIV players to get automatic spots.

The case could be different for captain’s picks, especially where Team USA is concerned.

The likes of Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Patrick Reed still cast formidable shadows at major championships and, with more impressive displays, could realistically find themselves teeing it up in Rome as one of Johnson’s selections.

Donald said it was “a shame” to see his former teammates end their careers as European Ryder Cup stalwarts but, in typically polite and diplomatic fashion, he also stated their actions came with consequences by moving to the Saudi-financed circuit.

“A couple years ago if you’d asked me that none of these guys would play a further role in the Ryder Cup, I would have questioned why,” he added.

“But again, these things have all happened in a series of events that were ulitmately their decisions.

“We all knew when LIV came about and it was approached to a lot of us that if you did that, there were these opportunities, there were these chances that stuff like this could happen, and you could put your potential future in jeopardy.

“I think everyone knew that.”

zach johnson

US captain Zach Johnson revealed potentially choosing a LIV player as one of his six captains’ picks hadn’t crossed his mind with so many events left to play until September 30.

The two-time major champion was also quizzed on how he rates Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka’s prospects of making Team America after impressive performances with LIV at the Masters.

“Really difficult for me to judge that,” Johnson said in New York. “I don’t know the golf courses they’re playing. Never seen them. I’m not there on foot in person.

“You’re talking about an individual (D. Johnson) whose resume is extremely deep and wide. He’s certainly in my generation one of the best players I’ve ever competed against, but it’s not fair for me to guess his true form or anybody’s true form that I can’t witness.

“I haven’t really seen where he’s at since Augusta (Koepka). He played really good that one week, but it’s one week. I don’t want to sit here and say that it’s concrete, it’s the only thing we’re going to be looking at.

“It’s one week, at a major venue, at the Masters tournament. He played great. But there’s a lot of golf. There’s still a lot of golf between now and then.”

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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