The Ryder Cup goes away for Jon Rahm

In just over two months, two top players from Team Europe have signed contracts with LIV Golf

by Andrea Gussoni
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The Ryder Cup goes away for Jon Rahm
© Getty Images Sport - Stuart Franklin / Staff

In just over two months, two top players from Team Europe have signed contracts with LIV Golf. Between December of last year and January of this year, first Jon Rahm, causing a great stir, and then Tyrrell Hatton, more quietly, joined Greg Norman and Yasir Al-Rumayyan's project.

With this decision, however, they entered the limbo that hosts DP World Tour players who compete in the Saudi League. As we know, in April of last year, the Arbitral Tribunal of the Sports Resolution Arbitration and Media Centre ruled in favor of the DP World Tour, closing the arbitration that opposed the former European Tour to the European players of LIV Golf.

The Ryder Cup, results

The practical effects of this decision included fines and suspensions imposed on players of LIV franchises. This sanctioning regime has also generated a collateral "damage," compromising the future of all European players as members of Team Europe.

Since the victory in Rome onwards, I have had the opportunity to tell you how several of them have embarked on or are about to embark on different paths with the aim of repairing such damage (Bernd Wiesberger and Sergio Garcia, for example).

And so we come to Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton. As soon as Jon Rahm's move to LIV became public knowledge, Rory McIlroy immediately spoke out in favor of his Team Europe teammate, calling for changes to the rules governing player eligibility.

But, of course, nothing has changed, indeed. The leaders of the DP World Tour have continued to apply the sanctions legally supported by last year's April arbitration. In the case of Rahm and Hatton, we're not talking about fines, but suspensions, which we know are imposed at a rate of one for each LIV event played (to date, there are 4).

To maintain their DP World Tour card for the 2024 season, the two gladiators of Rome (3 points for Rahm and 3.5 for Hatton) must compete in at least 4 tournaments. Now, considering that they will have to serve the suspensions, which will ultimately be 14, with the last LIV Golf tournament in October, by analogy with the 2023 season calendar, it is mathematically impossible for them to comply with the requirement to remain members of the DP World Tour (Garcia also has this problem).

So Rory McIlroy's appeal becomes crucial. Without a change in the rules, Rahm and Hatton will not be able to compete at Bethpage (in the scenario that they qualify or are Captain's Picks). Final consideration, somewhat bitter.

At a time when the professional golf world is focused on what its near future might hold, the leaders of the DP World Tour are concerned with applying sanctions to their own members. I hope that the handover between Keith Pelley and Guy Kinnings, scheduled for April 2nd, also brings a change in direction in the Tour's policies.

Ryder Cup Jon Rahm Liv Golf
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