Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald refuses to disqualify players from the Liv Golf series

Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald refuses to disqualify players from the Liv Golf series

Luke Donald - Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald refuses to disqualify players from Liv Golf series - GETTY IMAGES

Luke Donald – Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald refuses to disqualify players from Liv Golf series – GETTY IMAGES

Luke Donald has refused to ban players from the rebellious LIV golf series for his Ryder Cup team in Rome next year.

Following his official unveiling as Europe’s new 2023 Ryder Cup captain, replacing Henrik Stenson, who was sacked after signing up for the controversial Saudi-funded circuit, Donald said his aim was to be the “strongest ‘ and form the most ‘unified’ team possible. And he added it remains to be seen if that includes players who defected to LIV despite the DP World Tour’s wishes.

“Well, of course, part of that is building a strong 12-man unit team, and that’s what I’ll be working on over the next 14 months,” Donald said. “I’m not really here to talk about LIV and whether or not they’re eligible. That remains to be seen and is more of a hypothetical question.

“But certainly we will hopefully have some clarity on this situation over the next few months and we can start making some decisions about it as it becomes clearer.

“As you know, there is a legal position. But I don’t think this situation will resolve any time soon. So until then I can’t really comment on it.”

Henrik Stenson dropped as Europe's captain after deciding to take LIV's money - GETTY IMAGES

Henrik Stenson dropped as Europe’s captain after deciding to take LIV’s money – GETTY IMAGES

Europe’s Ryder Cup Director Guy Kinnings, who sat next to Donald on the conference call, also remained vague when asked if it was more important to have the strongest team possible or to maintain the integrity of the DP World Tour.

“Clearly the most important thing for us from our perspective is to make sure Luke has the best and most effective team to elicit the best response and best performance from that team. And if they can do that, it helps the DP World Tour immensely.

He added: “As Luke said, the position is not clear. An appeal is pending and until then players are eligible to play.

“The Ryder Cup qualifying process, when it is announced, must be something that Luke will be working on with us. Then the points run, but I suspect they’ll be similar to The PGA of America, listing players who are mentioned but subject to eligibility.

Ryder Cup bans for Europe’s LIV players would rule out the likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Bernd Wiesberger, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Sam Horsfield. However, Poulter said last week he was still confident he could qualify. “We’re not sure at the moment what the qualification criteria are,” said Poulter. “I think we’re all still eligible to play. I think the criterion is that we start qualifying in three weeks (at the BMW PGA Championship).”

Donald insisted he had no qualms after being asked to take over Stenson, saying other captains had to find their way through sticky situations. “To be honest, I was disappointed that I didn’t get the contract in March [when Stenson was appointed]but sometimes we get a second chance and I’m really looking forward to making the most of it,” he said.

“There are obviously some distractions but there have been a lot of Ryder Cup captaincy roles that have struggled. We saw that at Pádraig last year [Harrington] and Steve [Stricker] with COVID. We saw that Sam Torrance and Curtis Strange had to deal with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These things happen and we’re just going to go through them when we get them and deal with them in the best way possible.”

Donald added that he will be reaching out to England Women’s Championship head coach Sarina Wiegman for advice on getting the best out of his team and comparing the Ryder Cup to the Lionesses.

“I flew back from Detroit yesterday, so I didn’t watch the game,” he said.[But] I can always talk to someone who has the ability to be so successful in a team.

“I think you can see comparisons like that between something like the Lionesses and the Ryder Cup. These ladies made history yesterday. You will inspire a generation. And that’s what really inspires me about the Ryder Cup. I certainly remember many of my shots in Ryder Cups far better than I do in individual tournaments and because we’re playing for something bigger than ourselves.

“I am sure that I will turn to many people who have had a lot of success in this team environment, including Sarina.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.