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Rory McIlroy: LIV stars will miss Ryder Cup more than we’ll miss them

It’s the first Ryder Cup without LIV Golf stars. But who will feel the effects more…?

 

Rory McIlroy believes those former Ryder Cup stars who have defected to LIV Golf will be regretting their decisions.

The Northern Irishman told his pre-event conference at Marco Simone it would only now be hitting home to those who chose the Saudi-backed tour that they weren’t involved in the huge biennial event.

Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia – a sextet who have made a combined 42 appearances and scored 92.5 points – have all lost out on the chance to be in Rome after signing up to LIV and resigning their DP World Tour memberships.

Garcia, the all-time record points scorer in the competition, was reportedly denied a last-gasp attempt to qualify for this year’s Ryder Cup.

But not only did McIlroy argue they would now be realising the impact of their choice, he said he didn’t believe Luke Donald’s team would miss them that much.

“It’s certainly a little strange not having them around,” he said. “I think this week of all weeks, it’s going to hit home with them that they are not here.

“I think they are going to miss being here more than we’re missing them. It’s just more, I think, this week is a realisation that the decision that they made has led to not being a part of this week, and that’s tough.”

McIlroy added: “The landscape in golf is ever-changing and more dynamic, and we’ll see what happens and whether they will be part of it in the future. I always thought leading up to this week is when it’s going to hit home that they are not going to be here.”

Justin Rose knows more than most about the impact those European exiles could have had – having been involved in numerous winning teams and helped by his fearsome foursomes partnership with sacked captain Henrik Stenson.

Justin Rose Henrik Stenson

But the 2013 US Open champion looked at the positive side of having young blood in the team this week.

“Obviously Westy [Lee Westwood], Poults [Ian Poulter] as captains or vice-captains or however they may or may not be involved in the future do have a lot to offer,” Rose said.

“But the more we can kind of blood the younger generation coming through, the quicker you’re going to kind of skip through that transition phase.

“Maybe the transition started last time around at Whistling Straits and now we’re coming through that already.”

Brooks Koepka will be the only LIV golfer who will feature this week in Rome, with captain Zach Johnson picking the five-time major champion for the United States team.

Will Team Europe miss those LIV defectors at the 2023 Ryder Cup? Who will win, Team Europe or Team USA? Let us know what you think with a post on X, formerly Twitter!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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