Golf Monthly understands that Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy’s relationship has been completely broken by the former’s decision to sign with LIV Golf, with a source claiming it has “gotten personal”.
McIlroy is understood to be unhappy with Garcia’s move to the Saudi-backed series and the potential repercussions regarding the Ryder Cup. The DP World Tour hasn’t officially banned LIV Golf players from the biennial event, but Golf Monthly revealed earlier this week that the tour is leaning toward excluding LIV players from the Ryder Cup qualification process.
Golf Monthly has been told that the rhetoric has been “bitter and personal” in both directions, which is a huge surprise given that McIlroy was usher at Garcia’s wedding in 2017.
“I haven’t given up on the European Tour because I’d like to remain a member,” Garcia said during the LIV Golf event at Centurion earlier this month. “I’m European, I love the European Tour. I’ve played it for 23 years. Obviously we’ll have to wait and see what the European Tour does. But I would definitely like to keep my membership and have the opportunity to be part of the Ryder Cup team because I love that event. But we’ll wait and see what happens there.”
VIDEO: What is LIV Golf?
Sources suggest Garcia’s popularity has waned of late, beginning with his “I can’t wait to get off this tour” comments in response to a lost-ball decision at the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in May.
And, at the BMW International Open in Germany last week, the Spaniard is alleged to have launched an anti-DP World Tour tirade in the locker room, saying how bad the circuit was and that the players were making a mistake by following it. Those present were said to have been taken aback by the comments, with one player apparently revealing how he had lost all respect for Garcia.
“Everyone thinks they’re untouchable and everyone thinks touring can’t do anything. I think everyone is about to realize they are wrong,” said a DP World Tour player from LIV dropouts. “It’s shortsighted to think that regulations can’t change and that there aren’t a lot of bad feelings towards them. I think they miscalculated quite dramatically.”
One of the big unknowns surrounding the LIV circuit is whether world ranking points will be awarded at its events. Otherwise, players could find themselves without a ticket to the main in-game championships. A senior DP World Tour player with multiple wins is said to be “pretty sure” that LIV events will not award world ranking points.
All of this calls into question the participation of LIV Major players, and there is preliminary evidence that the four major golf tournaments are not thrilled about the inaugural LIV Series.
While The Open and US Open will, and have, allowed LIV players to compete in 2022, USGA CEO Mike Whan said ahead of this year’s event, “Could I imagine a day when Would it be harder for some people to do different things? Go into a US Open? I could. Is that true? I don’t know, but I can definitely foresee that day.”
And Golf Monthly has spoken to a DP World Tour player who has spoken with a senior DP World Tour official about The Masters. According to him, The Masters’ stance is that no player is bigger than the tournament and that the event will always come first. That mantra is said to have influenced European Tour CEO Keith Pelley’s position in the Ryder Cup.
At this point, it doesn’t mean that European LIV players will be barred from the Ryder Cup, or that any LIV player will be banned from competing at The Masters or US Open, but an objective observer could certainly reason that it’s headed that way. address.