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USA Ryder Cup Captain Zach Johnson Warns LIV Golfers About Not Being Picked for Team

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 30, 2022

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

United States Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson warned members of LIV Golf that they may be ineligible for the 2023 event.

He told reporters Thursday:

"So what I know is this: In order to play on the Ryder Cup team whether you're top-six or a pick, you must garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America. In order to garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America, you have to be a member of the PGA of America. The way that we're members of the PGA of America is through the PGA Tour. I'll let you connect the dots from there."

The PGA Tour has suspended golfers who defected to the Saudi-backed golf league in recent weeks, and several golfers have resigned their memberships to the PGA Tour.

Three members of the 2021 United States Ryder Cup team, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson, are signed to LIV Golf.

Patrick Reed, who earned the nickname "Captain America" thanks to his exploits in the Ryder Cup, and Phil Mickelson, who holds the Ryder Cup record for matches played, are also signed with LIV.

Bernd Wiesberger, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter are the members of the 2021 European Ryder Cup team to join LIV.

Both teams use different qualifying criteria to decide their final rosters. The United States has six automatic qualifiers, based on a scoring system that is predicated on PGA Tour events, and six captain's choices. The European criteria for the 2023 event is yet to be announced but included nine automatic qualifiers and three captain's choices in 2021.

The DP World Tour fined golfers who defected to LIV Golf $123,000 and banned them from competing in events co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour.

Team Europe captain Henrik Stenson has not indicated how he would handle LIV Golf members for the event.

All of the golfers who have publicly commented said they acknowledge the risk of being potentially left out but indicated the reward for joining LIV—which included nine-figure signing bonuses for some—was too great to pass up.

"I mean, why should it [Cup eligibility] be threatened?" Westwood said. "I've been playing Ryder Cup golf since 1997, and the criteria has been to be a member of the European Tour. Now, the criteria for being a member of the European Tour is to play four events. Why should they change that now?"

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