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Henrik Stenson defection, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell

Europe and the United States will lock horns at next year’s Ryder Cup but the tournament could be a shadow of its former self after a string of betrayals to the rebel LIV series.

The event in Italy from September 29, 2023 offers Europe the chance to avenge last year’s humiliating defeat at the Whistling Streets, but who will be in the field is anyone’s guess.

Henrik Stenson was stripped of his role as European team captain this week, with other European stars Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell all likely to be ruled out of future Ryder Cups.

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As things stand, Americans Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka will not be in the frame for the US team at the event at the Marco Simons Golf and Country Club in Rome.

The U.S. PGA Tour last month quickly suspended the traitors from competing in the biennial group tournament because they could not earn enough points to compete.

DP World Tour’s previous European tour has heavily fined members who played at the inaugural LIV event in London, banning them from three events.

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But the penalty hasn’t stopped the tide of players from the Saudi-funded LIV series, and it’s hard to predict how things will play out as golf’s civil war rages on.

Wednesday’s announcement that Stenson is jumping ship and will play in the third event of the LIV Series in Bedminster, New Jersey, next week was a blow to the golf establishment.

The 46-year-old Swede, who was appointed captain in March, said he accepted the decision, although he disagreed with it.

“I sincerely hope that a resolution will be reached between the tours and the members soon and that the Ryder Cup will be a means of repair between the various golfing bodies and their members,” he said.

Westwood and Garcia said they see no reason to exclude them from future trans-Atlantic matches by competing in LIV tournaments and that there is still time to reach an agreement with 14 months to go.

But U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson has given clear guidance that players must qualify for the team on the PGA Tour.

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The Ryder Cup is golf’s pre-eminent team event, bringing together a 12-member team from the United States and Europe for a three-day event every two years.

Speaking before stepping down from the role, Colin Montgomery told Sky Sports that captaining the Ryder Cup team was “the greatest honor any European Tour player could have”.

Padraig Harrington, who replaced Stenson as captain, wished his former European teammate had waited to move to LIV after the 2023 tournament.

Despite his disappointment, Harington told Sky: “He’s given us a lot of time. Fifteen months is a long time to get someone into a position, to feel for what they are doing and nothing interferes.

But former European captain Tony Jacklin, who led his team to victory twice, has warned that the Ryder Cup could take a toll.

“As things stand, next year’s Ryder Cup will be for naught,” wrote the two-time major winner. telegraph.

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“The whole pardon saga is a real mess and the only way to resolve it is in the courts,” he added.

Former world number one Jon Rahm expressed his anger at last week’s British Open after Spaniard Garcia confirmed his intention to quit the DP World Tour, a move that would rule out his chance to play in the Ryder Cup.

“The Ryder Cup is the reason my family and I started playing golf, and why so many others play golf,” Rahm said.

“It’s hard for me to understand and process what’s happening when he has the best player in Europe[Garcia]can’t play.

“The event that gives golf the most recognition in the world is the Ryder Cup and it makes me even more angry that they can’t play for idiots like him.”

– AFP

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