Former Captain Says LIV Ryder Cup Legends Will Be '100%' Behind Team Europe

Europe's team is missing a few Ryder Cup regulars, but Thomas Bjørn knows they'll be supporting Luke Donald's new-look squad

Thomas Bjorn
Thomas Bjørn is one of Luke Donald's vice captains in Rome
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thomas Bjørn believes Ryder Cup legends Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter will be behind the team “100 per cent” when the first tee shot in Rome is hit next week. 

A number of players became ineligible for European selection when they joined LIV Golf and resigned from the DP World Tour, but Bjørn believes those players will still be supporting Luke Donald and his new-look side when they lock horns with the US on Friday.

Bjørn, one of Donald’s vice captains in Rome, goes back a long way with a number of the European players who have joined LIV, including Paul Casey, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson, who was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy when he left to join the controversial, Saudi-backed Tour.

“I know that in their minds and hearts they will be 100 per cent with the players that are playing,” Bjørn told Golf Monthly. “They have such great history with the Ryder Cup, all of them, and they know what it is.

“They’ve been hugely successful and part of some of the greatest moments in European golf and they’ll want this group of players to have the same experiences as them carrying on. I know them well enough to know that’s how they’ll feel about it.”

The Telegraph recently reported that record Ryder Cup points scorer, Garcia, who was one of those to relinquish his DP World Tour membership, made a a last-ditch attempt to be part of Donald's side in Rome.

According to the report by James Corrigan, a Tour insider explained that the 43-year-old “suddenly came to us and said that not only would he pay the £100,000 but also all of the outstanding fines if he was allowed to play”. The source estimated the complete bill to be more than £700,000.

Bjørn believes that a new era has arrived for European golf, with a number of exciting fresh faces teeing it up at Marco Simone – something everyone should be excited about.

“We talked about a transition. We talked about that needing to happen at some stage. Now it’s happened and we have a completely new crop of players – young players, exciting players.

“I look at this team and I see, well all, but at least seven or eight that could play Ryder Cup together in the next five or six. This is a group that can form some really strong bonds and great relationships going forward.”

Lee Westwood Thomas Bjorn

Good friends Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjørn have shared many Ryder Cup experiences together 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Asked whether the door might still be open for any of the players who have joined LIV to make a Ryder Cup return at some point in the future, Bjørn said his sole focus right now is on what happens next week.

“That’s not for me to talk about. That’s not a conversation that we are having,” said Bjørn, who captained Europe to a 17.5½-10½ victory over the US in Paris five years ago.

“I’ve worked closely with Luke for over a year now and we’re focusing on what we can deal with and what we have, and the players that are eligible.

“All the other stuff we’ve put to the side and not dealt with because that’s out of our control. We focus on the team that’s going to Rome.”

Thomas Bjørn was speaking to Golf Monthly via Betway.

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.