Casey Warns Of Ryder Cup 'Captain Issue In The Future' If LIV's Euro Legends Don't Return

Paul Casey says that Europe could have a captaincy issue if the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia aren't allowed back into the Ryder Cup fold

Paul Casey looks on during a LIV Golf event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Paul Casey has warned that the European Ryder Cup team will have an issue with upcoming captains if LIV Golf players aren't allowed back into the fold in the future.

As a fallout from a range of DP World Tour stalwarts joining LIV against the rules, the likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell have all been excluded from any Ryder Cup involvement.

Even captain Henrik Stenson lost his role as a result of joining LIV, leading to Luke Donald stepping in for the upcoming 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome - with no involvement from those European legends.

Though unlikely to be playing, the likes of Garcia, Poulter and Westwood would all have been in line for future captaincy roles following Stenson, and unless they're welcomed back in after a PGA Tour-PIF deal is struck Casey thinks Europe have a problem.  

"They have a captain issue in the future," Casey told Golf Digest's John Huggan, adding that not having all those experienced players at least on the backroom staff will also be a blow in Rome.

"Let’s say Ian Poulter isn’t playing the golf he wants to play. Or has played in the past. And so won’t be part of the 12-man team. I would still have him be involved. 

"That’s what is going to be missing in Rome, guys like Poulter and Westwood in the locker room. I’ve been in those locker rooms. The pundits and the commentators have not.”

Casey adds that it was "never anyone’s intent” to harm the Ryder Cup so much with the introduction of LIV Golf, but says it's now a priority for the likes of DP World Tour boss Keith Pelley to help limit the damage.

"It has to be fixed," he added. "Keith Pelley has admitted that. He’s had conversations with people I know and he has admitted that. 

“The Ryder Cup is so valuable in terms of what it gives to golf in Europe, not just monetarily. We don’t want that to be damaged any more than it has been already."

Fans need to be focus for the future

And as the PGA Tour and PIF try to settle on a final deal by the end of the year, the world of golf is still in something of a mess, and Casey believe that key in all the talks should the fans.

“More consideration needs to be given to the needs and wants of the fans,” he says.

“That doesn't get talked about enough. And certainly not enough by those making the big decisions. All of this can’t be just about business. 

"That frustrates me and probably many others. It doesn’t matter whether I am part of the DP World Tour or the PGA Tour or LIV, we are all part of the issue and so the solution. 

"But we are not all swimming in the same direction right now. That’s my biggest concern. This needs to be about the consumers.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.