'It's A Shame' - Rory McIlroy On End Of LIV Golf Trio's Ryder Cup Careers
Rory McIlroy admitted it's a "shame" Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter will never captain Team Europe in the Ryder Cup following their resignation from the DP World Tour.
The trio opted to quit what was formerly the European Tour in order to avoid further sanctions for joining LIV Golf, effectively ending their long and storied associations with the biennial contest that pits the best of Europe against America.
Westwood is a veteran of 11 Ryder Cups, while Garcia is the competition's record points-scorer. Poulter, meanwhile, earned himself the nickname 'The Postman' for his ability to produce his best golf in the match play showdown and in seven appearances, never lost a singles tie.
McIlroy, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit, was asked to comment on the news after an opening 68 at the Wells Fargo Championship.
"I think it's a shame that you've got the highest points scorer ever in the Ryder Cup [Garcia] and two guys [Poulter and Westwood] that when they look back on their career, that's probably going to be at least a big chunk of their legacy is the roles that they have played in the Ryder Cup for Europe," the Northern Irishman said.
"For those three guys to not captain Europe one day, it's a shame. But as the DP World Tour said in their statement, at the end of the day that was their choice and they knew that these were potentially going to be the consequences of those choices and of those actions and here we are.
"Yeah, it's certainly a shame."
McIlroy's words echo those of captain Luke Donald, who inherited the hot seat when Henrik Stenson opted to join LIV after the 150th Open at St Andrews. The Englishman admitted it was "sad" the saga had reached this point but welcomed the "clarity" it gave him with the 2023 edition at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome fast approaching.
"I played with all three and they've been stalwarts of, and given a lot to, both the Ryder Cup and European Tour," Donald said. "It is a shame. They've got a lot of history when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
"Ultimately this is their choice and I wish them well. They feel like this was the best choice for them and now I've got choices to make that are best for me. I have a little more clarity now. I know they're not an option to play in, or be any part of my team."