Team Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald has refused to write off the chances of LIV Golf players competing in this year’s tournament, but concedes there could be issues between some of the players.
Donald was grouped together with counterpart, Team USA captain Zach Johnson, for the first two rounds of this week’s Honda Classic. However, while Donald’s focus was on the PGA National tournament, where he missed the cut, he was inevitably asked about the event coming seven months down the line at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.
Per Golfweek (opens in new tab), Donald conceded that LIV Golf players could yet make his team via one of the six qualifying spots. However, he admitted that potential bad blood between LIV Golf players and others could be a sticking point.
He said: “If we get to a point where someone’s qualified from LIV and there are disagreements between players we’re going to have to figure it out before. My job as captain is to create a great culture for the team to be successful. Whatever that may be, whoever those 12 guys, that’s my job.”
There have been signs in recent days that it could be a genuine issue, with a LIV Golf Ryder Cup legend, Sergio Garcia, accusing a shoo-in for the team, Rory McIlroy, of lacking maturity in the feud that has ended their friendship.
Regardless, Donald insisted that, for the time being, his final selection is not at the forefront of his mind, and that players amassing Ryder Cup points were his greatest concern. He said: “All I can do is stay in the present moment and deal with whatever happens in front of me. I’m not looking ahead too much. Right now I’m concentrating more on the guys making points week in, week out.”
Donald refused to write off the possibility of LIV Golf players coming into his thinking, though. He said: “The guys on LIV… I’ll certainly keep an eye on those, too. My focus is on those guys committed to trying to make the team.”
Donald had previously hinted that LIV Golf stars’ Ryder Cup days are over. However, with legends of the biennial competition, including Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Garcia playing for LIV Golf, there is certainly a wealth of talent on the circuit he could yet turn to.
As for Johnson, he was even more insistent that it was a discussion for another time. He said: “I’m not concerned about it right now at all, frankly. There’s so much fluidity and uncertainty still involved.”
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