They’re set to be two of Europe’s leading men at next year’s Ryder Cup, but Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick are continuing to be divided over whether any LIV golfers should feature in Luke Donald’s team.
Speaking ahead of the Italian Open, McIlroy and Fitzpatrick expressed conflicting views when asked if they want any LIV defectors playing alongside them in Rome – which includes the likes of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood.
McIlroy, who has continued to reiterate his strong anti-LIV stance in recent weeks, made his opinions perfectly clear once again, insisting he doesn’t think “any of those guys” should be in the Ryder Cup team.
“I’m not sure what LIV’s schedule looks like, if there’s tournament on that week or where in the world they are playing.” McIlroy said. “[But] I have said it once I’ve said it a hundred times, I don’t think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team.
The Northern Irishman then expressed his desire to see “younger guys” step up for Team Europe – the plea coming just one week after he exposed his fractured relationship with Poulter, Garcia and Westwood.
“I think the European team has a sore of six or seven guys that I think we all know are pretty much going to be on that team, and then it’s up to some of the younger guys to maybe step up.
“I think it is the right time to start to look towards the future of the European team. We’ve obviously done incredibly well with the core group of guys we’ve had over the last two decades, but all good things come to an end at some point.”
When pressed on his verdict, Fitzpatrick then took a differing stance to McIlroy, saying he’s “not bothered” about having LIV golfers play in the Ryder Cup, as long as Europe get the “11 best guys” possible.
“I just want to win the Ryder Cup.” Fitzpatrick said. “In my opinion, I want the 11 best guys we can get. I’m not really too bothered about where they are going to come from. I just want to make sure that we win and I think that’s what’s most important.
“I know other guys might not necessarily agree with that, but I know the winning feeling is worth more than any sort of arguments you might have with other players.”
Fitzpatrick, who will be looking to play at his third Ryder Cup in Rome, then revealed he had spoke to one of LIV’s Ryder Cup hopefuls at Wentworth, where he told the unnamed player he would “happily have him on the team.”
The US Open champion continued: “There’s only one that I had a conversation with last week. I told him I’d happily have him on the team. I’d have no issues. As I said, I want to win, and if that means having whoever on the team, that’s all that matters to me.”
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