The 2023 Ryder Cup tees off next week, and the European team will have a decidedly different look. Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm will be at the first tee, but the Europeans will be without longtime legends Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer and Paul Casey. All of those stalwarts, along with would-be captain Henrik Stenson, jumped to LIV Golf last year, effectively ending their Ryder Cup careers.
For Nick Faldo, Ryder Cup legend, that's just fine. Speaking earlier this week on Golf Channel, Faldo dismissed the idea that the LIV players either deserved a shot on the team, or would help the team.
"We've got one of the strongest teams we've ever had," Faldo said, adding that the players who jumped to LIV are "done. that's it. The team has moved on, the game has moved on."
The LIV Golf European players resigned from the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, which in turn fined the players significant sums. Most players paid those fines, but Garcia did not. Since membership on the DP World Tour is a prerequisite for selection to the Ryder Cup team, the LIV players by default were not eligible.
— Golf Today (@GCGolfToday) September 18, 2023
Over the course of his career, Faldo played in 11 Ryder Cups, totaling a record of 23-19-4 over 46 matches. Garcia, who has played in 10 Cups to date, has totaled 28.5 points, most all-time of any player. He reportedly made a last-ditch attempt to pay his way into eligibility, but was rejected.
Faldo captained the 2008 team that lost to Paul Azinger's squad at Valhalla. He dismissed the idea that players who jumped to LIV should be eligible for future captaincies, as well. "They left the tour. They knew what they were doing," Faldo said. "It was a mathematical equation for them. They knew there was going to be fallout from sponsors, but they decided to take the money and run."
The future of LIV and its relationship to the Ryder Cup and the DP World Tour remains uncertain. The PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), LIV's financial backer, reached an agreement in June to end hostilities and move forward with a newly created professional golf organization. How that affects the Ryder Cup and membership on the two tours is very much an open question, but as Faldo indicates, hard feelings from the split won't go away just because the lawsuits have.