LIV Golfers Will Play At The Ryder Cup... If They Qualify

Zach Johnson confirms that LIV players will be on the team if they earn one of the six automatic qualification spots

Zach Johnson hits a drive at the PGA Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson has seemingly confirmed that LIV players will be able to qualify for Rome 2023.

The American was asked plenty of LIV-related questions after he finished up the 2023 PGA Championship, from what he thought of Brooks Koepka's form to whether he watches LIV events and if he'd feel comfortable with them on the team.

"Yeah, he's on the team. He's got direct ownership in that, absolutely," Johnson said on whether a LIV player takes one of the six automatic positions.

Despite admitting that the Saudi-backed league's players could be on his 12-man team in September, two-time Major winner Johnson couldn't answer whether he'd be comfortable with that.

"I don't know. I can't answer that," he said. "I'll say this: The guys that are on the PGA Tour that make that team, they have direct ownership in that collectively.

"So for me to stand here and say that I would feel comfortable or uncomfortable with it would be, I would think, responsible on my behalf because it's not my team."

And whether Koepka can make the team and if he'd feel comfortable with that? It's far too early to say.

"I think it's too premature, frankly irresponsible, to even have any sort of opinion about that," Johnson said.

"I think given where we are at right now, there's a lot of points out, No. 1.

"No. 2, you have a bunch of elevated events.

"Shoot, No. 3, if you go back on history, there's names right now that probably on both tours that we're not even mentioning that could have a chance given what's from us. So I haven't even begun to discuss picks with anybody that I trust in my circle, specifically the vice captains. I feel like it's irrelevant to even discuss."

Brooks Koepka waves to the crowd

Brooks Koepka is looking more and more like his old self, and more and more likely to make Team USA

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It remains to be seen whether Koepka, or any other Americans who play in the LIV Golf League, will be on Team USA this year, but if they are they'll be heading to Marco Simone Golf and Country Club two-and-a-half weeks before the Ryder Cup on a scouting mission.

“I have something already in store and a plan,” he said earlier in the week. “I made it a priority that I'm taking the 12 guys that make my team to Rome two weeks prior to the event – two and a half weeks prior to the event - so that way we get our feet on the grounds, they get their feet on the grounds, experience Marco Simone first hand. 

“Then when we leave and come back home for two weeks, they'll have at least, I think, a pretty realistic expectation as to what is required.

“I think that trip right there is going to be crucial. Certainly chemistry and camaraderie and all that good stuff inside the locker room. It's a priority for those guys to get on Marco Simone.”

While LIV players are able to qualify and earn Ryder Cup points, they're currently only able to do so in the Major championships. It's thought that Koepka would move up to 2nd in the points list with a win at Oak Hill and only two more opportunities to earn points are available before September - next month's US Open and July's 151st Open Championship.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5