US Ryder Cup team captain Zach Johnson has warned US golfers in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf International Series that they may not be selected for next year’s matches in Italy.
A total of 17 players have been suspended by the PGA Tour ahead of LIV’s inaugural event in St. Albans, England earlier this month. Some players, including two-time overall winner Dustin Johnson, have elected to resign from the tour, meaning they are no longer eligible to participate in tour events or the President Cup.
Other players, including Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, have since joined LIV Golf, which will host its first U.S. event in Portland, Oregon on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the John Deere Classic at the TPC Deere Run, Zach Johnson was asked about the challenge of making the captain’s picks for the 2023 Ryder Cup.
“So what I do know is this: To play on the Ryder Cup team, whether you’re a top-six or a pick, you need to earn Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America.” , Johnson said. “To accumulate Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America, you must be a member of the PGA of America. We are members of the PGA of America through the PGA Tour. I’ll let you connect the dots from there.”
Johnson, a 12-time tour winner and two-time major champion, pledged his loyalty to the PGA Tour but said he still had respect for golfers who defected.
“I have friends who decided to go this route,” he said. “I’m for a lot of people. I mean, they’re my friends. I’m for them. I want them to be successful. I want them to, you know, find contentment or happiness in anything. It’s not for me to say how it develops or how they find it, I will say that I have the utmost respect for them individually.
Neither European team captain Henrik Stenson nor the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, has commented on how they will handle the ongoing issue ahead of next year’s tournament.
Long-time Ryder Cup players Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are among the European golfers who have joined the LIV series. Earlier this month, the DP World Tour fined defaulting golfers £100,000 ($123,000) each and banned them from playing three co-sanctioned events with the PGA Tour.
The 2023 Ryder Cup is set to take place at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Guidonia Montecelio, near Rome.