Sergio Garcia has explained his decision to exile himself from next year’s Ryder Cup, insisting he has “nothing to prove” and that Team Europe is “better without me”.
The Spaniard pulled the plug on any hopes of playing in the 2023 Ryder Cup after failing to meet DP World Tour membership criteria.
Garcia – who is the all-time leading points scorer in Ryder Cup history – opted not to enter the Mallorca Open in his native Spain, which marked his last opportunity to fulfil DP World Tour membership and make himself eligible for selection.
Having caused a rift with some Team Europe members after defecting to LIV Golf, Garcia has now justified his decision, telling Sports Illustrated he doesn’t “feel welcome” amid the backlash.
“It was a hard decision”, the Spaniard said. “But unfortunately it doesn’t feel like I’m very welcome there, so I don’t want to be a bother to anyone.
“I’ve always said I love the Ryder Cup too much. I obviously would love to keep being a part of it. [But] when I see that so many people are against [me playing] … if the team is better without me, I’d rather be out of it.
“There’s obviously several guys who feel strongly that way. The [DP World] Tour is on that same thought. So I don’t want to be something that might hurt the team. Obviously it’s sad for me, how much I love the Ryder Cup and everything I’ve been able to do with Europe. That’s the way they want it. I’m just helping out.”
The move marks a sad, bitter end for a player who has been a legend for Team Europe over the past two decades. But despite the anti-climatic conclusion, the LIV star insists he’s made “amazing” memories which will stay with him forever.
“It’s been amazing. The good thing is the way I look at it is I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many of them and many successful ones. Amazing relationships. Those things are not going anywhere for me.
“There’s been a lot of good things. I’ve been able to achieve a lot with the European Tour. It’s not like I feel I have something to prove or anything like that.”
With Garcia out of the running, several other LIV hopefuls including Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey will now await to hear if they’ll be banned from the biennial tournament having switched to the breakaway league.
It continues to place captain Luke Donald in a position of uncertainty as he builds towards Rome, one which Garcia revealed he also spoke to the Englishman about when making his decision.
“I’ve talked to him, but Luke is in a tough situation,” Garcia continued. “He’s the captain, but at the same time he has to look at all the players, what they’re thinking and what they’re feeling. So it’s a tough spot for him.”
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