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What banning LIV Golf players could mean for Europe and USA line-ups next year

Henrik Stenson’s expected removal as Team Europe captain will be the latest in a series of moves to the LIV Golf International Series that is threatening to change the face of the famous Ryder Cup as we know it.

The five-time Ryder Cup player was appointed to the role in March but is poised to become the latest star to join the Saudi-backed tour.

After missing the cut at the US Open, Stenson said his schedule for the rest of the year was “undecided” and his Ryder Cup future is even more unclear.

If confirmed, the Swede would add to a growing list of players whose Ryder Cup involvement would be questioned ahead of the 2023 edition in Rome.

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Yo looks at how Team Europe and Team USA could line up next year – and how LIV could shape the future of Ryder Cup.

How LIV could affect the playing line-up

When the biennial tournament graces the shores of Italy for the first time, it is not just the location that will be different.

LIV Golf has affected tournament fields across the globe, and the Ryder Cup, for all its history and prestige, will be no different.

Although Europe are yet to confirm their 2023 qualification criteria, the playing line-up of both sides is likely to be warped by the breakaway tour.

As it stands, European players must be members of the DP World Tour to be eligible for the Ryder Cup, while American players needing to be part of the PGA Tour. The latter has suspended players to have signed up or played for the LIV series.

The move might stem the flow of Americans, who under the current criteria would be unable to qualify, signing up for the LIV Tour.

Europe’s expected stance with regards to Stenson’s involvement in the breakaway series would signal a clear policy with regards to the playing portion of their team: if Stenson is stripped of the captaincy, it is hard to see how any other LIV Golf player can be allowed to compete.

Team Europe

(Predicted based on 2021 selection criteria; strikethrough denotes LIV Golf member)

Automatic qualifiers

  • Rory Mcllroy
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Victor Hovland
  • Thomas Peters
  • Jon Rahm
  • Seamus Power
  • Shane Lowry
  • Tommy Fleetwood

Captain’s picks

  • Serge Garcia
  • Paul Casey
  • Ian Poultry
  • Pablo Larrazabal

Possible beneficiaries of the LIV Golf absentees could include Tyrell Hatton, Thorbjorn Olesen, Sepp Straka, Victor Perez and Adrian Meronk – while 2021 vice-captain Luke Donald could be in line to replace Stenson as captain

Out of those expected to be part of the next Ryder Cup (based on 2021 qualifying criteria), John Rahm has already expressed his concerns about how the much-loved tournament could look in the era of LIV.

“I hope we don’t lose the essence and the aspect that the Ryder Cup is,” he told the BBC.

“It’s an event we all play for free, and it’s one of our favorite weeks, win or lose. I think that says a lot about the game and where I wish it would be at.”

Current players on the LIV Tour that might be expected to represent Team Europe include Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia, who have 15 Ryder Cup appearances between them.

But Garcia told reporters after the The Open Championship at St Andrews that he would walk away from the competition due to his involvement in the LIV series.

“I feel sorry for the Ryder Cup,” he said, appearing to confirm he would be missing for the first time since 2010.

“My resignation is not official, but I’m going to make it effective.

“What they are doing is a shame because the European Tour is going to become the fifth in the world.

“I have what I have and I am very happy with it and I want to enjoy it to the fullest. I will play less, I will be more at home.

“If I don’t play majors, then I don’t play them. I don’t care much either.”

Another LIV player, Ian Poulter, who defeated Tony Finau 3&2 in the 2021 edition to stay unbeaten in the singles across his Ryder Cup career, could be another one of Europe’s stars to find himself ineligible.

TeamUSA

(Predicted based on 2023 selection criteria and points as they stand; strikethrough denotes LIV Golf member)

Automatic qualifiers

  • scottie scheffler
  • Sam Burns
  • Xander Schauffele
  • patrick cantlay
  • justin thomas
  • Will Zalatoris

Captain’s picks

  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • jordan spieth
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Colin Morikawa
  • patrick reed
  • Dustin Johnson

Possible beneficiaries of the LIV Golf absentees could include Billy Horschel, Max Homa, Tom Hoge, JT Poston and Tony Finau

At Whistling Straits, America had the strongest Ryder Cup team based on average world ranking since 1986, but their team might look slightly different in 2023.

Captain Zach Johnson has already set out his position on LIV Golf, warning that any one signed up for the series may not be picked; by rule, half of the American team is chosen by Johnson himself while the other six qualify through PGA Tour performances.

“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,” Johnson said.

“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 biggest star to feel this impact is Dustin Johnson, who is rumored to have been promised more than £100m in appearance fees alone for the new tour.

His absence would be keenly felt too. At Whistling Straits, Johnson became the first American in 42 years to earn the maximum points for his side from him as the USA trounced Europe 19-9.

Other American stars who might otherwise be in Ryder Cup contention but have been lured in by the Saudi-backed series are big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed.

Clearly, the LIV International Series would not only impact Team US’ hopes of ending Team Europe’s 30-year unbeaten run on home soil, but also the standing of the tournament on a global stage.

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