Harrington Has 'No Problem' With LIV Golfers Being Ryder Cup Players Or Captains

Padraig Harrington has no problems with LIV Golf players coming back to feature in the Ryder Cup as players or captains

Padraig Harrington at the 2023 Scottish Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington says he has no problem with LIV Golf players coming back into the event as either players or captains in the future.

The Irishman feels the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia should be allowed to take up Ryder Cup roles that they looked nailed-on for before they joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour.

Henrik Stenson was even removed from the captaincy after he joined up with LIV Golf, which was against direct DP World Tour rules at the time.

Obviously, since then the PGA Tour has joined forces with the Saudi Public Investment Fund so all three entities will be working together going forward, so that stance could well soften.

And Harrington, for one, feels that anyone playing LIV Golf should be allowed to be involved in the Ryder Cup in the future.

"I have no problem with them coming back as players or captains," Harrington told Mirror Sport about LIV Golf players.

"They have to meet the criteria at that particular time, so clearly if you want to be a player you are going to have to play x amount of events, but I certainly wouldn't stop anyone becoming a captain, or I wouldn't stop anyone being a player." 

While all the talk is of how LIV Golf will fit in around the PGA Tour, Harrington would like some focus on the DP World Tour - which he thinks should return to being a major tour with big-name Europeans hanging around a little longer.

"I think there is enough room in world golf for at least two big tours," he added.

"I have no problem with big tournaments going on on the same week around the world. I don't think the best players should play together every week, I think it gets quite boring when the same names turn up every week. 

"I think it is quite exciting when you have good players turning up in Europe like we did back in the day.

"You had good European players playing in Europe and good players playing in the States. Then they would come together at a major or a big event and it created a bit of a buzz." 

Harrington warns young Euro stars

As part of the 'strategic alliance' between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, the top ten players in Europe get a card to go and play in the United States, but Harrington warned that crossing the Atlantic too soon could cause problems.

"Keeping players on their home tour actually creates a lot of excitement, and a lot of buzz," the three-time Major champion said.

"I'd be very afraid for the careers of the players who take up their [PGA Tour] card. 10 players get the US card this year and a lot of them will go when they are just starting to ramp up their own careers, and all of sudden they are being thrown in with a lot of mature players at their peak.

"You are going to unfamiliar golf courses, unfamiliar territory and we have seen a lot of good players take a big step back by going a little too early in the States. 

"I'm a great believer in being a big fish in a small pond, and developing before you jump into that big pond."

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.