“It’s certainly a little strange not having them around,” McIlroy said of Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood not being in Rome for the biennial competition.
“But I think this week of all weeks, it’s going to hit home with them that, you know, they are not here, and I think they are going to miss being here more than we’re missing them.”
When Garcia, Poulter, Westwood, and numerous other Europeans bolted to LIV Golf, they resigned their DP World Tour memberships.
Since the DP World Tour facilitates the Ryder Cup from the European side, those players were barred from playing for Team Europe.
That has ushered in a new era for the European team, considering the pedigree of those players who now play on LIV.
Garcia is one of the greatest Ryder Cuppers of all time. He has won more points—28.5—than anyone who has ever played in the competition.
Poulter has helped Europe win five Ryder Cups over the past two decades while boasting an impressive 15-8-2 record.
And Westwood has played in 11 Cups, winning seven, as his 11 appearances are tied with Sir Nick Faldo for the most ever on the European side.
“I think this week is a realization that the decision that they made has led to not being a part of this week, and that’s tough,” McIlroy added. “The landscape in golf is ever-changing and more dynamic, and we’ll see what happens and whether they will be part of it in the future.”
The pending agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) may change the rules of Ryder Cup eligibility by the time the matches return to the United States in 2025.
Yet, those affiliated with LIV Golf—at least from the European side—will have to watch this Ryder Cup from home.