2022 has proven to be a year like no other in the world of golf following the formation of the LIV Golf Series. A number of the sport’s biggest names have made the controversial switch to the Saudi-backed series, where mega-money signing fees and lucrative prize pots are on offer. Their move to LIV Golf has not come without consequence though, with the PGA Tour suspending the memberships of every player that has jumped ship. The American-based circuit and its European sister the DP World Tour have found themselves locked in a legal battle with LIV and a group of players over their playing rights.
In the midst of the civil war the sport now finds itself just nine months away from the next instalment of the Ryder Cup. The question mark surrounding the famous team event though is whether LIV players will be eligible to compete due to their ongoing dispute with the American and European-based circuits.
From the Ryder Cup’s all-time leading points scorer, to a four-time major champion, here are nine big name players that could well miss out when the event heads to Rome in September.
One man who has been key to Europe’s Ryder Cup success over the past two decades is Spanish star Sergio Garcia. There are few players who rise to the occasion like Garcia when wearing European colours, with the 2017 Masters champion the event’s highest points scorer.
The chances of Garcia adding to that tally in 2023 seem slim though, with the Spaniard seemingly ending his relationship with the DP World Tour this year. Europe’s team selection will be partly be selected by players leading the way in the Wentworth-based circuit’s points list and the world rankings. With Garcia not playing DP World Tour golf, and continuing to compete without world rankings on the breakaway circuit, his chances seemingly lie in being one of Luke Donald’s captain picks. But with the Spaniard’s relationship with European golf bosses broken this could also prove a dead end.
Another man who has proven to be a stalwart for European golf on the Ryder Cup stage is Ian Poulter. The Englishman has been aptly nicknamed ‘The Postman’ after delivering time and time again for Europe.
His postie shifts in blue and gold could well be over though following his move to LIV Golf. Like Garcia, his relationship with the powers of European golf has become fractured especially after the 46-year-old filed a lawsuit against the DP World Tour in regard to a circuit ban. And with all four of Poulter’s last Ryder Cup appearances coming in the way of a captain’s pick, his time competing in the match play event could well have come to a saddening end.
Completing the trio of Europe’s old guard is Lee Westwood. The former world No. 1 has been an ever-present in the European setup since making his debut in 1997. However his new-found LIV allegiances leaves him in the same boat as his fellow stalwarts Garcia and Poulter when it comes to his chances of competing in Rome in 2023.
One man who would seemingly have been a dead cert for 2023 is Paul Casey. Despite turning 45 this summer, Casey has found some of his best form in recent years and this showed at the 2021 Ryder Cup as he eased his way into the team thanks to his position on the World Points List. 2023 however could prove a much tougher test with the Englishman now competing in the LIV Series and – as it stands – without the all-important world ranking points.
Another member of the 2021 European playing quota whose spot in Rome is in deep jeopardy is Bernd Wiesberger. The Austrian burst his way into Padraig Harrington’s team as a rookie on the back of an impressive two years on the DP World Tour. However his decision to make the move to LIV Golf has seen the 37-year-old drift out of the conversation for Europe’s 2023 team selection.
Arguably the biggest name to join the Saudi-backed series, is LIV’s inaugural individual and team champion Dustin Johnson. Johnson has been an ever-present at the top of the world of golf, but his Saudi switch has seen the American tumble down the world rankings.
Being one of the best players on the planet and a former world No. 1 has seen Johnson compete in five of the last six Ryder Cups, with his best performance coming in Team USA’s thumping victory last September. Despite this, with he and his fellow LIV rebels suspended from the PGA Tour, his chances of adding a sixth appearance look extremely slim.
Another man who played an integral part in Team USA’s record-breaking Ryder Cup win over their European rivals in 2021 was Brooks Koepka. Like Johnson, Koepka has announced himself as one of the world’s best in recent years, making him a shoe-in from the American’s Ryder Cup team. His Ryder Cup status could well be over though after he followed in the footsteps of Johnson in co in signing on the mega-money dotted line with LIV Golf earlier this summer.
One of the big stories to come out of the 2021 event was the relationship between Koepka and his supposed arch rival Brooks Koepka. The pair had shared a bitter feud in the year leading up to the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, but seemingly put their differences aside by helping Team USA to victory.
This reconciliation could well have only been made for the sake of one event though, with DeChambeau another big name player who could well miss out on selection in 2023 due to his LIV allegiances.
One man who would no doubt play the pantomime villain in Rome is American star Patrick Reed. Reed has been known to enjoy winding up the European crowd in his recent Ryder Cup outings, however his bad boy role may have to pass to someone else in 2023 after joining LIV Golf and being suspended from the PGA Tour in June.
Source : Express