Rory McIlroy defends change of heart over LIV golfers playing in Ryder Cup following Jon Rahm move

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy celebrate Europe's victory in the Ryder Cup in Rome in September. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy celebrate Europe's victory in the Ryder Cup in Rome in September. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy celebrate Europe's victory in the Ryder Cup in Rome in September. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
Rory McIlroy expects Ryder Cup changes after Jon Rahm’s LIV switch

Rory McIlroy has defended his change of heart about LIV Golf players being eligible for the Ryder Cup, insisting Jon Rahm is “needed” for the 2025 match whereas the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia were surplus to requirements in Rome this year.

A call by McIlroy for new LIV Golf recruit Rahm to be eligible for the next match against the United States at Bethpage Black in New York led to BBC Scotland sports journalist Tom English pointing out on social media that “Rory’s singing a different tune now that it’s Rahm”.

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Referring to McIlroy having said that “they (referring to the likes of Westwood, Poulter and Garcia) are going to miss being here (Rome) more than we’re missing them”, English wrote in a post: “Didn’t hear this kind of chat from him about the others who joined LIV.”

McIlroy duly responded to that on X, saying: ”Which is very true… we didn’t NEED any of the others in Rome and we didn’t miss them. We’d certainly miss and need Jon at Bethpage.”

In standing up for the traditional tours, McIlroy stated on numerous occasions that he did not think LIV players should be available for selection for this year’s Ryder Cup in Italy, where he and Rahm played starring roles in helping Europe regain the trophy after a hammering at Whistling Straits in 2021.

However, the four-time major winner believes the deal between the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has “legitimised” LIV and wants Rahm on Luke Donald’s side when they attempt to retain the trophy.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, world No 2 McIlroy said: “Jon is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so, because of this decision, the European Tour (DP World Tour) are going to have to rewrite the rules for the Ryder Cup eligibility, absolutely. There’s no question about that – I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.

“I’m going to miss competing against him week in and week out. He’s got so much talent, he’s so tenacious, he’s a great team-mate in the Ryder Cup.

“Is it disappointing to me? Yes. But the landscape of golf changed on June 6, when the framework agreement was announced and I think because of that it made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV a little easier for guys.

“They let the first guys really take the heat and then this framework agreement legitimised basically what LIV was trying to do, then I think it’s made it easier now if that’s really what you want to do.”

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As things stand, Rahm, who is reported to have signed a deal for around $450 million, will be eligible for the Ryder Cup as long as he remains a DP World Tour member, which requires him to play in four regular tournaments per season.

He will also earn points towards qualification through major championships, but faces fines and suspensions for playing in LIV tournaments without the required “conflicting event” releases from the DP World Tour.

In April this year, an arbitration panel ruled that the Tour had the right to sanction players for such “serious breaches” of its code of behaviour, a case sparked by 12 players appealing against fines of £100,000 and suspension from the Scottish Open for playing LIV’s inaugural event in June 2022.

It is understood that fines and suspensions are assessed on a case-by-case basis, with former LIV player Bernd Wiesberger currently serving a ban after paying all of his fines in order to regain his DP World Tour membership for the new season.

Westwood, Poulter and Garcia resigned their memberships in the wake of the arbitration panel’s decision, while Henrik Stenson was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy after joining the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit.



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