The 2023 Ryder Cup is just around the corner, and European golf fans are in for a surprise. This year, the European team will be missing some of its most iconic players, including Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, and Paul Casey. These veterans of the Ryder Cup have chosen to jump ship and join LIV Golf, effectively ending their Ryder Cup careers.
However, for golf legend Nick Faldo, this is not a cause for concern. Speaking on Golf Channel earlier this week, Faldo dismissed the idea that the LIV players deserved a spot on the team or that they would have contributed positively to the European side.
“We’ve got one of the strongest teams we’ve ever had,” Faldo confidently asserted. He believes that the players who chose to join LIV Golf are “done” and that both the team and the game itself have moved on without them.
The decision by these players to switch to LIV Golf came with consequences. They resigned from the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, and as a result, they were fined significant sums of money. While most of the players paid these fines, Sergio Garcia notably refused to do so.
Membership on the DP World Tour is a prerequisite for selection to the Ryder Cup team. Therefore, by default, the LIV players were no longer eligible to represent Europe in this prestigious event.
Faldo, a Ryder Cup veteran himself with 11 appearances, understands the significance of this competition. It is clear that he believes the players who abandoned the European Tour should not be given any special treatment, even when it comes to future captaincies.
“They left the tour. They knew what they were doing,” Faldo remarked. “It was a mathematical equation for them. They knew there would be fallout from sponsors, but they decided to take the money and run.”
Garcia reportedly tried to make amends in a last-ditch effort to pay his way back into eligibility for the Ryder Cup, but his attempt was rejected. Despite his impressive record in previous Ryder Cups, including the most points accumulated by any player, Garcia will have to sit this one out.
The future of LIV Golf and its relationship with the Ryder Cup and the DP World Tour remains uncertain. In June, an agreement was reached between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (LIV’s financial backer) to create a new professional golf organization. However, the impact of this agreement on the Ryder Cup and membership on both tours is still unclear.
Faldo’s comments suggest that the division caused by the players’ decision to join LIV Golf will not be easily forgotten. While legal matters may be resolved, the scars left on the Ryder Cup and the golfing community may take longer to heal.
As the 2023 Ryder Cup approaches, the absence of these Ryder Cup veterans will undoubtedly be felt. The European team will have to move forward without them and hope that their new lineup can rise to the occasion and secure victory. Whatever the outcome may be, this edition of the Ryder Cup will be remembered as a turning point in golf’s landscape.