Rory McIlroy’s savage reaction to Euro Ryder Cup team’s lack of LIV Golfers

ATLANTA — In front of a packed media room at East Lake Golf Club, Rory McIlroy was asked if he had a problem with the Americans selecting LIV golfers for their Ryder Cup team. The Europeans are not allowed to do so.

“No,” McIlroy confidently said ahead of the Tour Championship. “I don’t think it would make a difference for us.”

The PGA of America facilitates the Ryder Cup from the U.S. side. Since that organization is separate from the PGA Tour, U.S. Captain Zach Johnson can select as many LIV players as he wants.

Brooks Koepka’s potential spot on the team has been a popular topic of discussion lately, especially since he dropped out of the top six in the standings following the BMW Championship. The top six U.S. players automatically qualified for the team.

Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot during the final round of the 2023 BMW Championship.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Koepka now must rely on a captain’s pick to play for the Americans in Rome.

Across the pond, the DP World Tour organizes the European team.

In conjunction with the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour has barred LIV golfers from playing in its events and, therefore, will not allow LIV players to represent the European flag in Rome.

Nevertheless, McIlroy has never been shy of holding back his disdain for LIV Golf. He has repeatedly lamented against the Saudi-backed tour, especially during the 2022 season.

Many notable European players bolted for LIV Golf in 2022, namely Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, and Paul Casey, all of whom have helped Europe win multiple Ryder Cups over the past two decades.

Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Ryder Cup

Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, and Ian Poulter at the 2021 Ryder Cup
Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Garcia has accumulated more Ryder Cup points than any player in history.

Westwood has recorded 24 points, tied with Sir Nick Faldo for third all-time amongst the Europeans.

Stenson played in five Ryder Cups, winning three of them. He was also named the European captain in 2021, but the DP World Tour stripped the Swede of this honor in 2022 after he went to LIV Golf.

Poulter, meanwhile, holed the winning putt in 2012 to cap off the ‘Miracle at Medinah,’ while Casey played in five Ryder Cups himself.

But these players are well past their prime, hence why McIlroy made the comment that he did.

The European team will look much younger this year, with McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Viktor Hovland leading the charge.

These three players have already qualified for the team.

Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrell Hatton, Justin Rose, and Matt Fitzpatrick—four outstanding English players—will surely represent the Europeans in Rome.

As will Shane Lowry, who won the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Other possible players include Scotsman Robert MacIntyre, who challenged McIlroy at the Genesis Scottish Open in July.

Robert MacIntyre, Genesis Scottish Open, PGA Tour, DP World Tour

Robert MacIntyre finished one stroke behind Rory McIlroy at the 2023 Genesis Scottish Open.
Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

German Yannik Paul, who has five top-10s on the DP World Tour this season, may also play for the Europeans.

Adrian Meronk could become the first man from Poland to play in a Ryder Cup. The 30-year-old Pole leads the DP World Tour in total strokes gained this season.

As for European Captain Luke Donald, he has until Sept. 3, 2023, to finalize his team.

The opportunities for Team Europe in 2023 are endless, but an era of European golf has surely ended with many notable former Ryder Cuppers bolting for LIV Golf.

That could all change in the future, but for now, no LIV players will represent the blue and gold of Europe, much to the delight of McIlroy.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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