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LIV Golf joins list, former Ryder Cup captains Furyk, Langer weigh in

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Despite only spending a few weeks as a real, tangible league, LIV Golf has already made waves that have changed the landscape of the sport.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund-funded upstart golf league has siphoned off several star players from the PGA Tour, starting with the likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, and more recently adding Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka ahead of their second event taking place this week in Portland, Oregon. With LIV Golf uncut and bigger purses, plus guaranteed cash for many of the world’s best players, more PGA Tour professionals are expected to follow.

While the repercussions of LIV Golf’s rise have already been felt on the PGA Tour, there are some ripple effects that won’t be apparent for years to come. One notable place these ramifications will be felt is in the Ryder Cup, where there is a good chance that those who have chosen to sign with LIV Golf will not be eligible to play by country or continent.

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In order to play for their Ryder Cup team, players must be members of their respective home tours. Several LIV players who left the PGA Tour, including Dustin Johnson, voluntarily relinquished their tour cards before joining the new league, leaving them unable to compete in the Ryder Cup for the foreseeable future. Those who held onto their cards could argue for their place on the Ryder Cup teams, but as things stand, the powers that be in the Ryder Cup appear to be siding with LIV.

Although there is still some time to resolve the issue (the next Ryder Cup is scheduled for September 2023 in Rome, Italy), Insider asked two former Ryder Cup players and captains for their thoughts.

“You support your own tour, and that’s what you stand for,” 2004 European captain Bernhard Langer told Insider after one round at the US Senior Open. “But now with this LIV Tour, or whatever you want to call it, exhibition tour, I don’t know what it is because it’s 48 guys and three rounds. Is it a tour? Isn’t it a tour? It shouldn’t really have much to do with the Ryder Cup because the Ryder Cup is between Europe and America. It has nothing to do with the LIV Tour, period.”

“Obviously you want to ask [PGA of America CEO] Seth Waugh on that,” 2018 Team USA captain Jim Furyk told Insider when asked how LIV could affect the Ryder Cup. “It seems like right now, the PGA of America and the PGA Tour They are united on this matter. I don’t know if that’s a fact.”

While Furyk was hesitant to pass a verdict on players’ eligibility for the Ryder Cup, he was clear that he was not a fan of LIV Golf in general.

“I’m disappointed,” Furyk told Insider. “There’s a lot of guys that I really like to watch and watch play, and right now they’re not going to play on the PGA Tour. We’ll see. It’s going to take a little while for things to work out.” and see where it all falls.

“I’m a big supporter of the Tour. I know those guys, a lot of them who left. I know them pretty well and consider some of them friends. I’m disappointed.”

While the next Ryder Cup is still 15 months away, the golf world could get some clarity on the competition ahead in the near future.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson will captain Team Europe at the upcoming Ryder Cup, where Team Europe will attempt to avenge their worst loss in the history of the competition. But according to a report in The Times, Stenson has also been linked to LIV as a potential player. “If Henrik crosses over to the other side,” a European Tour official was quoted as saying, “he will not captain next year’s Ryder Cup.”

Additionally, several European Ryder Cup stalwarts from the last two decades, including Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, are already on the LIV Golf roster. All three players would no doubt have been named European captains for years to come, but now they have potentially put their future captaincies in jeopardy.

On the American side, Phil Mickelson and Johnson may never play on Team USA again. Also, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, both members of the team that dominated in 2021, could miss out on future appearances.

LIV Golf has already changed the sport in several big ways in the last month, and will likely continue to do so in the many months between now and the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Depending on how things go, the Ryder Cup rosters could look quite different than what fans might have projected a year ago.

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