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zach johnson player profile

Has Zach Johnson changed his mind about LIV golfers playing in the Ryder Cup?

The USA captain was previously against the defectors teeing up in Rome, but it looks like that could soon change – if it hasn’t already

 

Zach Johnson will be bored of hearing the question, but as the Ryder Cup creeps closer and closer, it’s getting increasingly important that a decision is made on whether or not LIV Golf players will be allowed to tee up in Rome in September.

Both Johnson and European captain Luke Donald have been faced with an unprecedented run-in to the biennial match that could still feature players who have moved to the rebel league.

Because Ryder Cup USA is governed by the PGA of America rather than the PGA Tour, the likes of Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed earned valuable qualification points with impressive displays at the Masters.

But, will a mixed dynamic of LIV and PGA Tour players in the team rooms hurt their chances of victory?

zach johnson

“No decisions have been made,” Johnson said. “There’s still a lot of time left in that regard, and so many fluid factors involved. As far as personally making decisions, no.

“There are numerous factors – but I am going to rely heavily on looking back at the previous cups that I’ve been a vice-captain. I’m going to rely heavily on the guys that actually make the team because it’s their team.

“So I don’t know who those six are going to be, but their ownership and their opinions will weigh heavily into what I, what we, decide to do.

“In order to garner Ryder Cup points or be eligible for PGA of America Ryder Cup points and PGA Championship points, you have to be a member of the PGA of America.

“Those individuals, that have left the PGA Tour to my knowledge, are still members of the PGA of America. There’s a grace period involved there. I don’t know the specifics.”

While the picture remains unclear, Johnson, like his European counterpart, is unlikely to say anything that could come back and bite him. It is probable the likes of Koepka, Reed, Dustin Johnson, and Bryson DeChambeau can only use major championships to climb the US Ryder Cup points table.

While playing in non-OWGR LIV events, their opportunities to earn points remain limited and the same can now be said for LIV players who are hoping to represent Europe in Italy in September.

The DP World Tour won its arbitration case against LIV Golf players and is able to fine them $100,000 each for playing in conflicting events on the Saudi-backed circuit.

This could cause the likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Thomas Pieters to give up their memberships, restricting their access to European Ryder Cup points.

Each captain has six picks which could be the most likely route for LIV players to make the sides for September.

Will Zach Johnson or Luke Donald choose a LIV Golf player in their Ryder Cup sides? Tweet us and let us know!

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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