McIlroy Calls For 'Fresh Blood' Ahead Of European Ryder Cup Rebuild

Europe's top-ranked golfer wants Luke Donald to give youth a chance next year in Rome

Rory McIlroy in action on day one of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has called for “fresh blood” in the European Ryder Cup team when Luke Donald’s team face the USA in Rome next year.

While a ruling on whether those who have moved to LIV Golf will be allowed to play is still awaited, the World No.3 thinks it’s time to move on from some of the veterans and bring in some new players. Europe’s all-time record points scorer, Sergio Garcia, and Lee Westwood, who has made the joint most appearances for Europe with 11 and would join Phil Mickelson as joint all-time if he did make Donald’s team, are among those now playing the LIV Tour.

McIlroy told Sky Sports: “When I think about the guys that have went from the Tour, especially this Tour, their best days are behind them - and I think they would concede that as well - so we have to think about the future of the European team. We’ve got a group of seven players, a core seven I think, and we need to fill that extra five with young, ambitious players.

”We need to blood a few new people in Rome and regardless of the result in Rome, I think that will ultimately be a really good thing for the European Ryder Cup team because you’re bringing fresh blood in and it’s a little bit of a rebuild at this point but I think that’s what we need.

"That's the future of The Ryder Cup, the Højgaards, Bobby Mac, whoever else is coming up. Like they are the future of The Ryder Cup Team. That's what we should be like thinking about and talking about."

McIlroy's relationship with former Ryder Cup teammates Westwood, Garcia and Ian Poulter appears to have deteriorated, though the Northern Irishman says that is down to changes they have made, not him.

 “I wouldn't say I've got much of a relationship with them at the minute," said McIlroy. "I haven't done anything different. They are the ones that have made that decision. So I can sit here and keep my head held high and say I haven't done anything differently.”

Qualification for the Ryder Cup - which will be held at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome next September - starts with this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Donald’s team will feature the top three each from the European and world points lists, plus six captain’s picks. To make the team, players must be members of the DP World Tour, and while LIV players can currently continue to play and earn points there, that is only while the pause on sanctions is in place ahead of a full court hearing in February.

Jeff Kimber
Freelance Staff Writer

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!