Jon Rahm on LIV members and the Ryder Cup: ‘I wish they could play, but it doesn’t look good’

LIV Golf has torn the game apart at the seams.

A clear example came at last month’s Presidents Cup, where International Captain Trevor Immelman had to pick up the pieces after two of his stalwarts, Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann, left for the Saudi Arabia-funded circuit.

Although they fought until the end, the International squad didn’t have nearly enough to compete with the Americans — a team that would have included Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka if they, too, didn’t sign with Greg Norman.

The next team event on the schedule is the 2023 Ryder Cup set to be staged at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy, from September 29 to October 1.

Several players from the 2021 European team that was dismantled at Whistling Straits — Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger — are now banished from the PGA Tour.

Although beyond their prime, experience in team competitions can’t be overstated (although it didn’t seem to work in ’21).

With the apparent loss of these veterans, European Captain Luke Donald will need to find new blood to fill the open roster spots.

What could the ’23 Ryder Cup teams look like?: U.S. | Europe

“We’re still a little bit in limbo. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the lawsuit, so I’m trying to not really put too much energy into it. Once we get a clearer picture, I can give you better answers,” Donald said last month at the BMW PGA Championship.

On Saturday, Jon Rahm told The Telegraph how he feels about allowing LIV members to play in the biennial event.

“The Ryder Cup is not the PGA Tour and European Tour against LIV – it’s Europe versus the US, period,” Rahm said. “The best of each against the other, and for me the Ryder Cup is above all. I wish they could play, but it doesn’t look good.”

He’s not the only highly-ranked European star to feel this way. Matt Fitzpatrick, world No. 10, spoke freely last month at the DS Automobiles Italian Open, an event played at Marco Simone.

“I just want to win the Ryder Cup… I want the 11 best guys we can get. I’m not really too bothered about where they are going to come from,” he said.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, on the other hand, doesn’t want any part of it.

“I have said it once I’ve said it a hundred times, I don’t think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team,” he said in Italy.

“I think the European Team has a core of six or seven guys that I think we all know are pretty much going to be on that team, and then it’s up to some of the younger guys to maybe step up.

“But I think we were in need of a rebuild, anyway,” McIlroy continued. “It was sort of, we did well with the same guys for a very long time but again as I just said, everything comes to an end at some point. I think Whistling Straits is a good sort of demarcation, I guess.”

Team Europe players (clockwise from top left) Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry, Ian Poulter, and Rory McIlroy laugh while posing for a team photo during a practice round for the 43rd Ryder Cup golf competition at Whistling Straits. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

All three — Rahm, McIlroy and Fitzpatrick — are expected to be in Rome next year.

In the end, if LIV players aren’t allowed to participate, Europe will have to turn to young names such as Robert MacIntyre and the Hojggard twins. MacIntyre is currently the third and last automatic qualifier for captain Donald.

The Europeans won the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris and haven’t lost on home soil since 1993 at The Belfry.