Luke Donald inundated with LIV requests to play in the Ryder Cup


Luke Donald inundated with LIV requests to play in the Ryder Cup – GETTY IMAGES

Luke Donald was only appointed captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup last month, but he has already received several calls from former Ryder Cup teammates who have disembarked to join the Saudi-funded rebel circuit and are desperate to to know where they stand for next year’s game.

But while those conversations will remain private, the LIV Golf players must resign themselves to the fact that no matter how close their relationship with Donald is, he won’t select any of them as wildcards for Rome, regardless of their ability and reputation in the biennial dust-up. .

Donald’s first test in this ‘big picture about friends’ dilemma comes in January when he names the two 10-man teams for Great Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe in the inaugural Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi.

The three-day tussle—five foursomes on the first day, five fourballs on the second day, and ending with 10 singles on the Sunday—is basically the old Seve Trophy in different pants. The former Ryder Cup dress rehearsal was scrapped for nine years and although it was replaced by the EurAsia Cup – Europe v Asia – it was also jettisoned after the 2018 match due to a lack of funding.

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It meant that Padraig Harrington was the first Europe captain this century to face off without the aid of a preparatory event and Paul McGinley, the 2014 Europe captain, was just one expert who argued that the void was partly to blame for the record loss from last September .

In his brief stint at the helm after being appointed as the emergency replacement for Henrik Stenson – the Swede fired for breaking his contract by signing with LIV in a £40m deal – Donald was key to ensuring that the Tour followed through on its promise to help potential Ryder Cup players and captains.

There is some frustration in the locker room that the name of the late Seve Ballesteros is not clear, but an agreement could not be reached with his family and in Hero MotorCorp – the Indian motor scooter manufacturer – it has found a title sponsor willing to pay the millions. necessary to host such an event immediately preceding the Abu Dhabi Championship.

It’s good news everywhere, as Donald welcomes the announcement. However, the former world No. 1 also acknowledges that as the lawsuit that will essentially decide whether those who have joined the LIV will be barred from the Tour will not take place until February, he will have the chance to choose Ian Poulter . , Lee Westwood and good friend Sergio Garcia, mostly because he has full control over who plays and who is captain.

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Luke Donald Might Have The Chance To Pick Lee Westwood - GETTY IMAGES

Luke Donald Might Have The Chance To Pick Lee Westwood – GETTY IMAGES

Donald was wary in his answer when asked about the likelihood of choosing the renegades. “It’s hard to answer that because it’s all hypothetical,” he said. “Once this legal situation is over, I’ll have a better understanding and be able to answer your question.”

In other words: no chance. Donald is naming his 20 after the Tour’s season finale in Dubai in November and it will be largely made up of ambitious youngsters mixed with a little bit of experience.

In a parallel universe, Westwood, Poulter, and Garcia would have been involved in some way, but now that they’re faced with being outside the biennial cleanup, they’ve all done so much to make the biggest golf week.

That trio, and the other 15 LIV players in this field, were all practicing on the West Course on Tuesday, as they were banned from playing in the pro-am for the BMW PGA Championship on Wednesday. Donald made sure not to criticize the blue and gold legends, as did defending champion Billy Horschel and world champion No. 6 Rahm, who decided not to criticize those European heavyweights,

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But the pair didn’t hold back when it came to those LIV pros like American Talor Gooch and Mexican Abraham Ancer, who are in the field thanks to being in the top 60 in the world, but never before. have expressed an interest in playing in European competition. circuit’s $8 million flagship event.

“I honestly don’t think the American guys who haven’t supported the Tour should be here,” said Horschel, the world’s number 15 from Florida. “Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch… you’ve never played this tournament, you’ve never supported the DP World Tour, why are you here?

“You’re only here for one reason and that’s to try and get points in the world rankings because you don’t have those on LIV Golf. It’s hypocritical. You said you wanted to play less when you came to LIV.”

Rahm agreed. “It annoys me that someone who has played more than 20 DP World Tour events this year can’t play the flagship event because of some other players who don’t care about the tournament.”