Luke Donald has been inundated with LIV requests to play in the Ryder Cup

Luke Donald inundated with LIV requests to play in Ryder Cup – GETTY IMAGES

Luke Donald was appointed captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup only last month, but he has already received numerous calls from former Ryder Cup teammates who have jumped ship to join the Saudi-funded rebel ring and are desperate to learn where they are for next year’s race. .

However, while these talks will remain private, LIV Golfers must resign themselves to the fact that, however close their relationship with Donald, he will not select any of them as a wild card for Rome, regardless of their prowess and fame in the dust of two years. -up.

Donald’s first test of this “big picture for friends” dilemma will come in January when he names the two 10-man squads for Great Britain and Ireland against continental Europe in the inaugural Heroes Cup in Abu Dhabi.

The three-day event – five fours on the first day, five fours on the second day and finishes with 10 singles on Sunday – is basically the old Seve Trophy with different trousers. The former dress rehearsal for the Ryder Cup was abolished nine years and although it was replaced with the EurAsia Cup – Europe – Asia – it was also withdrawn after the 2018 race due to a lack of financial backers.

It meant Padraig Harrington was the first European captain this century to go into contention without the aid of a warm-up match and Paul McGinley, the 2014 European captain, was just one pundit to claim the gap was partly responsible for losing record last September. .

In his brief spell at the helm after being appointed as an emergency replacement for Henrik Stenson – the Swede who was sacked for breaching his contract by signing for LIV in a £40m deal – Donald was key to ensuring the tour was completed. are committed to helping potential Ryder Cup players and captains.

There is some frustration in the dressing room that the name of the late Seve Ballesteros is not prominent, but an agreement could not be reached with his family and in Hero MotorCorp – the Indian motorcycle scooter manufacturer – he found a title sponsor willing to put up the millions required to hold such an event immediately preceding the Abu Dhabi Championship.

It’s good news all around with The Donald welcoming the announcement. However, the former world No 1 also acknowledges that with the court case that will essentially decide whether LIV registrants are banned from the Tour not taking place until February, he will have the chance to pick the likes of Ian Poulter. , Lee Westwood and good friend Sergio Garcia, especially as he will have complete control over who plays and who captains.

Luke Donald could have chance to pick Lee Westwood - GETTY IMAGES

Luke Donald could have chance to pick Lee Westwood – GETTY IMAGES

Donald was cautious in his response when asked about the possibility of selecting defectors. “It’s hard to answer that because it’s all hypothetical,” he said. “Once this legal situation is over, I will have a better understanding and be able to answer your question.”

In other words: no chance. Donald calls his 20s after the Tour season ends in Dubai in November and will be made up largely of ambitious youngsters mixed in with some experience.

In a parallel universe, Westwood, Poulter and Garcia would have been involved in some way, but now they face being out of the two-year dust and all did so much to make it the biggest week in golf.

That trio, and the other 15 LIV players in that field, all practiced on the West Course on Tuesday, having been disqualified from playing in Wednesday’s pro-am for the BMW PGA Championship. Donald was careful not to criticize the legends in blue and gold, as defending champions Billy Horsell and world No. 6 Rams chose not to criticize these European heavyweights.

However, the pair didn’t hold back when it came to those LIV pros, such as American Talor Gooch and Mexican Abraham Ancer, who are in the field thanks to being in the world’s top 60 but have never shown interest in playing in the European flagship track worth 8 million dollars.

“I honestly don’t think the Americans who haven’t supported the Tour should be here,” said Horschel, the world No. 15 from Florida. “Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch… you’ve never played this tournament, you’ve never supported the DP World Tour. Why are you here?

“You’re here for one reason only and that’s to try and get world ranking points because you don’t have them in LIV Golf. It’s hypocritical. You said you wanted to play less when you joined LIV.”

Ram agreed. “It bothers me that someone who has played over 20 DP World Tour events this year can’t play the top event because of some other players who couldn’t care less about the tournament.”

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