LIV Golf has shaken up the sport, with former PGA Tour players leaving for the Saudi-backed league.
The PGA Tour has revoked the statuses of players who leave for LIV Golf.
Former Ryder Cup captains weighed in on the new league and how it could affect golf moving forward.
Despite having spent just a few weeks as a real, tangible league, LIV Golf has already changed the landscape of the sport.
The upstart golf league bankrolled by the Saudi sovereign-wealth fund has siphoned off several star players from the PGA Tour, starting with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, and most recently adding Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, and Brooks Koepka ahead of its second event — scheduled for this week in Portland, Oregon. With LIV Golf sporting no cuts and bigger purses, as well as guaranteed cash for many of the world's best players, more PGA Tour pros are expected to follow.
While the PGA Tour has already felt the repercussions of LIV Golf's rise, there are some ripple effects that fans, players, and analysts might not see for years to come. The Ryder Cup — where there's a good chance that those who've signed with LIV Golf will be ineligable to play for country or continent — is one notable place that will feel these ramifications.
To play for their Ryder Cup team, players must be a member of their respective home tours. Several LIV players that left the PGA Tour, including Dustin Johnson, voluntarily resigned their tour cards before joining the new league, thus leaving them unable to compete in the Ryder Cup for the foreseeable future. Those that held on to their cards could argue for their spot on Ryder Cup teams, but as things stand, the powers that be at the Ryder Cup appear to be siding against LIV.
Though there's still some time remaining to figure out 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 who you represent," Bernhard Langer — the 2004 European captain — told Insider after a 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? Is it not 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."
"You obviously want to ask [PGA of America CEO] Seth Waugh about that," Jim Furyk — the 2018 Team USA captain — told Insider when asked about how LIV could impact the Ryder Cup. "It seems like right now the PGA of America and PGA Tour are joined and together on this matter. I don't know if that's a fact."
While Furyk was hesitant to deem a verdict on players' Ryder Cup eligibility, he was clear that he was not a fan of LIV Golf, as a whole.
"I'm disappointed," Furyk told Insider. "There's a lot of guys that I really like to watch and see them play, and right now they're not going to be playing on the PGA Tour. We'll see. It's going to take a little while for things to shake out and see where everything falls.
"I'm a big supporter of the Tour. I know those guys — a bunch of them that left. I know them pretty well and consider some of them friends. I'm just disappointed."
While the next Ryder Cup is still 15 months away, the golf world could get some clarity on the coming competition in the near future.
Henrik Stenson of Sweden is set to captain Team Europe at the next Ryder Cup, where Team Europe will attempt to avenge its worst loss in the history of the competition. But according to a report from The Times, Stenson has also been linked to LIV as a potential player. "Should Henrik cross to the other side, he will not be captain at next year's Ryder Cup," said one European Tour official per the report.
Additionally, several European Ryder Cup stalwarts of the past two decades — including Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood — are already on the LIV Golf roster. All three players would have undoubtedly been European captains in the coming years, but they have now potentially put their future captaincies in jeopardy.
On the American side, Phil Mickelson and Johnson both might never suit up for Team USA again. Additionally, 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 past month, and will likely continue to in the time between now and the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Depending on how things go, the Ryder Cup rosters could look quite different from the ones fans might have projected a year ago.
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