Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer see no reason why their jump to LIV Golf should rule them out of the Ryder Cup.
“Why should it be threatened,” England’s Westwood, who matched a European record with his 11th Ryder Cup appearance last year, said of his future in the biennial event between the United States and Europe.
“As long as you fulfil the criteria to be a European Tour member, then you should still have the opportunity to try and qualify for the Ryder Cup team.”
Westwood, Garcia and Kaymer spoke at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, where the second event in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series begins on Thursday.
The PGA Tour has suspended all current or former members of the tour who have opted to play in the rebel series, which has sparked criticism because of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The DP World Tour fined and banned members who played in the inaugural event outside London – including Westwood and Garcia – and said additional punishments could be meted out over subsequent involvement in the series.
Making a Ryder Cup team depends in part on gaining points on either the PGA Tour or DP World Tour, making it unclear whether players banned over LIV involvement would be shut out.
“I hope that I still have the possibility, as I’m sure they do, too, to be a part of a few more Ryder Cup teams, but that’s not going to depend on us now,” Spain’s Garcia said. “We’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”
Germany’s Kaymer, a former world No 1 who hasn’t played in the Ryder Cup since 2016, said that even if he never plays in it again, he doesn’t regret his decision to join the rebel circuit.
“Obviously, we didn’t know what the sanctions might become one day, but if you asked me if I would do the same, if I would make the same choice, absolutely, because I do believe in the whole vision that LIV Golf provides for the game of golf and for us players,” Kaymer said.
While the precise Ryder Cup status of LIV rebels remains unclear, 2023 US team captain Zach Johnson indicated on Tuesday that the PGA Tour remained the path to selection.
“In order to play on the Ryder Cup team, whether you’re top six or a [captain’s] pick, you must garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America,” Johnson said ahead of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in Ohio.
“In order to garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America you have to be a member of the PGA of America. The way that we’re members of the PGA of America is through the PGA Tour.
“I’ll let you connect the dots from there.”
Johnson will helm the US team next year in Rome as they try to retain the Cup they won with a devastating 19-9 triumph over Europe at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin last September.
That US team captained by Steve Stricker included three players who have so far signed up with LIV Golf: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.
© Agence France-Presse