McIlroy clarifies the situation: LIV players should not be allowed in the Ryder Cup

Guidonia Monticello, Italy – For Rory McIlroy, it’s a categorical “no.”

US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick is open about having LIV Golf players on the European team at next year’s Ryder Cup, because, as he said, “I just want to make sure we win.”

Meanwhile, Europe captain Luke Donald is walking the line of official tours when he says he is in “limbo” awaiting the dispute to be decided in the courts.

As many of Europe’s best players prepare to play this week’s Italian Open at Marco Simone Stadium outside Rome which will host next year’s Ryder Cup, the pre-tournament discussion has been over who should and who shouldn’t be included in the 2023 squad.

“I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: I don’t think any of those players should be on the Ryder Cup team,” McIlroy said on Wednesday of the players who joined the Saudi-backed dissident series.

Litigation is still ongoing on both sides of the Atlantic and includes the PGA Tours and European Tours after LIV golfers have been disqualified from events, and the division is growing between players who stick to the traditional rounds and those who join the lucrative breakaway streak.

But Fitzpatrick, who won his first major title in June, is taking a more neutral stance.

“I just want to win the Ryder Cup. I want the best 11 players we can get,” said the Englander, who lost all three of his matches when the USA trounced a record-breaking defeat in Wesling Straits, Wisconsin, last year. “I want the best 11 players we can get.” from him.”

Fitzpatrick went so far as to reach the LIV player at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week.

“I told him I would be happy with him on the team,” Fitzpatrick said, without naming the player.

Donald was named captain last month after Henrik Stenson was stripped of the title for joining Liv.

“Nothing has really changed since my appointment,” Donald said. “We’re still a little bit forgotten. We don’t know what will happen to the suit, so I try not to put too much energy into it. Once we get a clearer picture, I can give you better answers.”

While European Ryder Cup players Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were among the group of Leaf golfers competing at Wentworth, none of those top names came to Italy.

“I actually committed to playing at this event before Luke was captain and he was someone else,” McIlroy said, refusing to mention Stenson’s name again.

“I’ve had discussions with Luke and in fact a few of us are gathering for dinner tonight for a little bit of bonding with the team but also to talk about the course and how we think it should be set up for the benefit of the European team.”

Located a half-hour drive from central Rome – without traffic – the stadium owned and operated by fashion designer Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna has mountainous terrain that should fit into a stadium-like setting suitable for a Ryder Cup.

“You have two drivable 4s (#11 and #16), you have a few water holes and you have a great locking hole which can be really exciting,” McIlroy said of the back nine defenders.

The only time McIlroy had previously played in Italy came when he won the European Amateur Championship in 2006 in the northern town of Biella.

“So I have a record of 100% in this country and I would like to continue that,” he said.

McIlroy enjoyed touring Rome with the family, especially since his wife once studied in the city for seven months “knowing her way”.

The main order of business for McIlroy and his teammates, however, is to strategize how to narrow the 19-9 gap by the US in Wisconsin.

“The European team is six or seven players and I think we all know they’re going to be in that team, so it’s up to some of the younger players to progress,” McIlroy said. “I think we needed a rebuild anyway. We did really well with the same guys for a very long time but it all ended at some point. I think whistling straits is a good kind of demarcation.”

Donald meets rising Italian Guido Migliozzi and Adrian Mironek, the Polish player who won the Irish Open in July, in the opening two rounds this week.

Then there is Nikolai Hoggard, the 21-year-old Danish who won Marco Simon last year a week after his twin brother Rasmus won the European Masters title in Switzerland.

Vice-captain Thomas Bjorn belongs to the group with 24-year-old Norwegian Victor Hovland, who is ranked 11th in the world golf rankings.

“I’m excited to see their games,” Donald said. “I will be watching out for some young and exciting talent to try and build this team.”

Then there is Francesco Molinari, the 2018 European victory champion, who is looking to return to the team after missing 2021 with back problems. It comes in the top ten at Wentworth.

“It would be huge to have an Italian in the team,” McIlroy said.

Molinari said cases with LIV will recede from September 29 to October. One event next year.

“The Ryder Cup is such a big, important and fantastic event that I don’t think it will ever be damaged by the conflict,” said Molinari. “Even if the situation is not resolved, I think everyone’s attention for this week will be on the Ryder Cup.”