'LIV Ryder Cup Might Be Better Than The Actual Ryder Cup'

A high level figure in the game discusses LIV Golf, the PGA/DP World Tour alliance and the future of the Ryder Cup

Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson smile at each other
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The LIV Ryder Cup might be as good as the real Ryder Cup but the traditional biennial Europe vs USA match should not be too affected by the LIV Golf departures, a high level figure in the game told Golf Monthly under the condition of anonymity.

"The LIV Ryder Cup might be better than the actual Ryder Cup," they said, referring to a LIV vs PGA/DP World Tour style match. "Don’t think they wouldn’t try that as well."

The Ryder Cup has been rocked in recent months with European stalwarts such as Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell all joining LIV Golf. On the US side, the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed all appear to have cut their ties with the match too.

Video: What is LIV Golf?

"I would imagine the Ryder Cup will carry on with or without them," Golf Monthly was told. "If you took the guys out of the European Tour, you’re actually not taking anybody out, they’re all too old anyway. You’ve got Fleetwood, he might go might he. You’ve got left all the younger guys, you actually would have the same tour. If you took the players out the Ryder Cup that are on LIV now, and wrote down your two teams, at the ages everybody are they wouldn’t be that much different. You take Westwood out, he’s 49, you take Poulter out, he’s 46."

Golf Monthly has heard from separate sources that there are divisions within the European Ryder Cup side and that the once strong McIlroy/Garcia friendship has seen a "complete deterioration".

"I think there’s a massive division isn’t there between the haves and the have nots on the European Tour, that’s what I’m told," the source told Golf Monthly. "Apparently a lot of the European Tour players despise the guys that have gone with LIV, a lot of them."

The Ryder Cup could be further rocked if European captain Henrik Stenson joins LIV Golf, which has been reported and rumoured over the past couple of weeks. When asked on Stenson, the source said the Swede probably didn't think the Saudi-backed venture was going to take off.

"I think when he took the Ryder Cup job it didn’t look as though it was going to happen like this though. If you have a look when he took the Ryder Cup job, I think it was at the time when it looked a bit shaky."

Despite the enormity of the Ryder Cup, the figure believes the power is all held by the Majors - who will continue to want the strongest fields possible vying for their historic titles.

"The whole balance of power is held by the four Majors, nobody else. Doesn’t matter what the PGA Tour does, doesn’t matter what the European Tour does, it’s what the Majors do. The Ryder Cup not as much. That Ryder Cup is a massive deal for one week every two years.

"I don’t know what will happen there but the Majors aren’t stupid. They’re not going to want Majors with 10 out of the top 40 not playing. At the end of the day The Masters are in a unique situation because they invite people rather than qualify, or they qualify for an invite. I can’t see them wanting to play without all the top players there."

The source says that LIV Golf has done fantastically well to attract the names it has so far this year but thinks that the Greg Norman-fronted series needs "a Morikawa or a Rory or a Cantlay" to stop it from being the 'over 40s tour'.

"It’s interesting isn’t it none of the youngsters are going. The Saudi fund is going to have to pay out an awful lot for the likes of a Morikawa or a Rory or a Cantlay or one of those under 30 guys - not that Rory’s under 30 but you know, some of those guys. They need two or three of those because at the moment it looks like the over 40s tour."

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer 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: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x