ADVERTISEMENT

US Ryder Cup Captain Zach Johnson Casts Doubt on LIV Golfers’ Hopes for 2023 Event

ADVERTISEMENT

United States Ryder Cup team captain Zach Johnson has warned American golfers at the Saudi-backed LIV International Golf Series that they may not be chosen for next year’s matches in Italy.

A total of 17 players were suspended by the PGA Tour ahead of LIV’s inaugural event in St. Albans, England, earlier this month. Some players, including two-time Grand Slam winner Dustin Johnson, have opted to forfeit their tour membership, meaning they are no longer eligible to compete in tour events or the Presidents Cup.

Other players, including Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, have since joined LIV Golf, which will host its first US event in Portland, Oregon starting Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Speaking at a press conference prior to the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run, Zach Johnson was asked about the challenge of making captain selections for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

“So what I know is this: To play on the Ryder Cup team, whether you’re in the top six or a selection, you have to accumulate Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America,” Johnson said. . “To get Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America, you have to be a member of the PGA of America. The way we’re a member of the PGA of America is through the PGA Tour. I’ll let you connect the dots from there.” “.

Johnson, a 12-time Tour winner and two-time Grand Slam champion, pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour but said he still respects golfers who have defected.

“I have some friends who have decided to go down that road,” he said. “I’m for a lot of people. I mean, these are my friends. I’m for them. I want them to do well. I want them to, you know, find fulfillment or happiness in whatever. It’s not for me to say how that plays out or how they find it. I will say that I have the utmost respect for them individually.”

Patrick Reed, whose nickname “Captain America” ​​derives from his performances in three Ryder Cup appearances, said he has contemplated not being chosen for Team USA events, but added that his decision to join LIV Golf was right for his family.

“I have thought about it [not being at the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup]. Who wouldn’t?” Reed said before this weekend’s LIV event. “But at the end of the day, I felt like, when my family and I sat down and weighed all of our options, we felt like we wanted to join LIV Golf. Especially talking to some of the guys who played in London, that this was definitely the right call. The right decision for us mainly mentally and physically. Just the quality of life. Being able to spend more time with the kids because that’s been the hardest thing.”

Neither Team Europe captain Henrik Stenson nor the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, have commented on how they will handle the current issue ahead of next year’s Ryder Cup matches.

Ryder Cup veterans Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood are among the European golfers who have joined LIV Golf. Earlier this month, the DP World Tour fined the defecting golfers £100,000 ($123,000) each and barred them from competing in three events sanctioned jointly with the PGA Tour.

Said Garcia, when asked if he knew before joining the LIV Series that it could affect his Ryder Cup eligibility: “You never knew how everybody was going to act. You obviously hoped it wouldn’t change. We still hope it won’t affect it.”

The 2023 Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Guidonia Montecelio, near Rome.

“I mean, why should I [Cup eligibility] be threatened?” Westwood said. “I’ve been playing Ryder Cup golf since 1997, and the criteria has been to be a member of the European Tour. Now, the criteria to be a member of the European Tour is to play four events. Why should they change that now?

“I’ve been a member of the PGA Tour and still played four events on the European Tour, and why would the European Tour change its rules so drastically because another tour doesn’t like it or feels financially threatened? There’s a little too much protection going on for my taste and little transparency.

“I think as long as you meet the criteria to be a member of the European Tour, you should have the opportunity to try and qualify for the Ryder Cup team.”

sniloans