Paul McGinley: Numerous obstacles for LIV Golfers to join European Ryder Cup team

“Under the current systems, [LIV players] are not going to be eligible."

by Sead Dedovic
Paul McGinley: Numerous obstacles for LIV Golfers to join European Ryder Cup team
© Phil Inglis/Getty Images Sport

The Ryder Cup 2025 at Bethpage Black will attract enormous attention from golf fans for many reasons. The European team seems to have never been stronger, boosted by the optimism following their victory in last year's Ryder Cup. 

Golf is a sport where many players can drop off the radar within a year, making room for new young talents. However, the European team has a bright future, judging by what we have seen and continue to witness today. 

Nonetheless, there is concern among Europeans because some key players have joined LIV Golf and will not have the opportunity to compete in the Ryder Cup next year under current rules. 

Jon Rahm is certainly one of the biggest names that will be absent, along with Tyrel Hatton

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm© Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport

Golf legend turned analyst, Paul McGinley, spoke to the Belfast Telegraph about potential solutions and chances for rule changes. 

McGinley highlighted the challenging path ahead to grant LIV Golfers the right to compete for the European team. He believes that LIV Golfers are not particularly popular among players who have remained on the PGA Tour. Many factors contribute to Europeans not being able to participate.

“Under the current systems, [LIV players] are not going to be eligible. So the rules will have to be changed if they are to be played. But there are a lot of hurdles to jump to get to the place where they’re going to be eligible.

There’s a very, very strong sentiment among the players who have stayed that they’re the reason the game is divided and the product diluted. A diluted product lessens their value. So there’s an argument on both sides. And then there’s the Ryder Cup brand. Is that going to be affected if some top players are ineligible to play?"- McGinley said, as quoted by MIRROR!

McGinley sees the whole process as a double-edged sword. On the one hand you have fans, not the majority, but many who want to see the LIV Gophers perform for the European team. On the other hand, you have players from the PGA Tour who want their loyalty to be appreciated, hoping that individuals from LIV Golf still do not have the right to perform at the Ryder Cup. 

This kind of intolerance has been going on for a long time, but logically, we can understand the thinking of PGA Tour players. Staying loyal regardless of the huge amount of money is something they can be proud of. However, is loyalty valued today or not? The situation is very difficult.

So you’ve got to balance making sure the Ryder Cup stays in this top echelon, with the best players playing, but also being fair to the players on both sides. So it’s a negotiating position.”- McGinley continued.

McGinley discussed his continuing conversations with Luke Donald about potential solutions, highlighting the absence of decisions. He mentioned that amidst the complexity of the situation, he has various ideas but faces challenges due to the number of factors at play. 

McGinley pointed out the huge impact of recent turmoil on the golf scene, particularly the growth of certain brands like the Majors and the Ryder Cup. He emphasized the uncertainty surrounding the eligibility of players involved with LIV Golf for the Ryder Cup, questioning whether they will be allowed to participate and, if so, how that will be managed.

Luke Donald has a right to be worried about the future of the European team

The captain of the European team, Luke Donald, surely isn't pleased with the departure of several players to LIV Golf. This deepens the issues within the team, which last year also couldn't count on several stars who had previously joined LIV Golf. The absence of a star like Jon Rahm is a massive blow to this team, probably the biggest possible blow.

Luke Donald
Luke Donald© Oisin Keniry / Getty Images Sport

In the conversation after signing the contract with LIV Golf, the Spaniard expressed the hope that things will be sorted out, with the optimism that a merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour can be reached. This would certainly enable this golfer to compete in the Ryder Cup.

However, the situation seems alarming, because an agreement has not yet been reached. Rahm can be happy primarily because of the statements made by the PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, who confirmed that negotiations are still ongoing, with optimism that an agreement will be reached soon.

Europeans intend to achieve a feat and secure victory on foreign soil. It will be a challenging task for them, but certainly not impossible.

Paul Mcginley Ryder Cup