LIV Players Rise Up Ryder Cup Rankings, But Will They Be Allowed To Play?

The performances of several US LIV players at The Masters boosted their Ryder Cup rankings, but can they qualify?

Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka celebrate after Team USA's 19 to 9 win over Team Europe in the 2021 Ryder Cup
Can LIV Golf players Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka qualify for the Ryder Cup?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There were several standout performances from LIV Golf players at The Masters, most notably joint runners-up Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, who tied for fourth.

As well as the advantages that came with those displays, including prestige, prize money and Official World Golf Ranking points, they also accumulated precious Ryder Cup points, which are unavailable to them in LIV Golf tournaments.

However, is it realistic that one or more LIV Golf players could yet qualify for Zach Johnson’s team for the biennial tournament at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club later this year? It certainly looks more likely after last week.

There are two ways to qualify for Team USA - as one of six Captain’s Selections or finishing in the top six of the points list, with points available in tournaments until the end of the BMW Championship on 20 August.

While US LIV Golf players are suspended from the PGA Tour, some are eligible for Majors, and those tournaments offer the chance to earn the most points. The qualifying system awards one point per $1,000 earned in PGA Tour events, but that increases to 1.5 points in Majors and double for winning one of the big four tournaments.

Those performances from the three LIV Golf players at Augusta National have helped move them up the points list significantly. Unsurprisingly, it is currently headed by World No.2 Scottie Scheffler, while beneath him are fellow PGA Tour players Max Homa, Cameron Young, Sam Burns, Will Zalatoris and Collin Morikawa.

You don’t need to go too much further down the list to find the first LIV Golf player, though. Brooks Koepka jumped up 81 places to 16 following last week’s tournament. Given his excellent form after returning to full health and the fact he is eligible for the remaining three Majors this year, more strong performances in them would give him a fantastic chance to breach the top six.

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Further down the list, but not by much, is Phil Mickelson at number 20, who is also eligible for the remaining three Majors this year. The 52-year-old rolled back the years in the final round of The Masters shooting a historic 65, the lowest score ever recorded by an over 50 at the tournament.

It’s only two years since Lefty won the PGA Championship, while he’s one US Open win from a career Grand Slam having finished runner-up in the tournament six times. He will surely have his sights set on those two events in particular as he aims accumulate plenty more Ryder Cup points.

Dustin Johnson is at number 27 on the list despite his disappointing tie for 48th in The Masters. Meanwhile, Reed is at 33. Thanks to Johnson’s win in the 2020 Masters, he, in particular, will fancy his chances of reaching the all-important threshold as he qualifies for all three remaining Majors in 2023.

Before last year’s John Deere Classic, Team USA captain Zach Johnson outlined how players can qualify for his team. He said: "So what I know is this: in order to play on the Ryder Cup team whether you're top 6 or a pick, you must garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America. In order to garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America you have to be a member of the PGA of America. 

"The way that we're members of the PGA of America is through the PGA Tour. I'll let you connect the dots from there."

Following that statement, the outlook appeared dire for the qualification chances of LIV Golf players, but good news came from Barstool Sports' Dan Rapaport after Koepka's Masters finish. He wrote on Twitter: "PGA of America confirms Brooks will get his full Ryder Cup points for this finish. If he follows this up with good play in the other three majors, he could well qualify for the team on points. Either way, if we want the 12 best from each, it’s hard to imagine he’s not in Rome…"

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So there we have it. The door is open for LIV Golf players to make the team if they accumulate enough points in the remaining Majors. Will at least one walk through it? After some encouraging performances last week, it seems increasingly likely.

Mike Hall
Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 


He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 


Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 


Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.