Rory McIlroy has closed the door on rekindling his relationship with former friend and Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia.
McIlroy was asked if there was hope for mending bridges with the Spaniard, whom McIlroy was a groomsman for at his wedding, and simply replied with "no" and confirmed there was "no way" the pair would rekindle.
Golf Monthly understood that there was a "complete deterioration" in the Ryder Cup partners' friendship last year due to LIV, with McIlroy last month revealing that the pair had a text exchange during the US Open.
McIlroy said: “He was basically telling me to shut up about LIV, blah blah blah. I was pretty offended and sent him back a couple of daggers, and that was it.”
Golf's civil war has moved away from the course and into the court rooms, with McIlroy revealing that he "got a subpoena on Christmas Eve", which would have only further distanced himself from the LIV players.
The PGA Tour failed to get LIV's antitrust lawsuit thrown out in November, and McIlroy and also Davis Love III, named as “alleged conspirators” by Attorney Larry Klayman’s ‘Freedom Watch’ organisation, were set to be deposed over the alleged collusion on January 11 and 17.
With the LIV vs PGA Tour battle turning to the courts, it seems friendships are in tatters and it could see the likes of Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and other European LIV golfers frozen out of the Ryder Cup - even if they're allowed to qualify following next month's arbitration panel hearing at Sports Resolutions in London.
“I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times, I don't think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team," McIlroy said of the LIV golfers at September's Italian Open, which took place at the 2023 Ryder Cup venue Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.
"I think we were in need of a rebuild, anyway. We did well with the same guys for a very long time but again as I just said, everything comes to an end at some point. I think Whistling Straits is a good sort of demarcation, I guess."
Garcia, who can still be picked for Team Europe, last month said that some Europeans have shown "very little class."
“Because if there are three or four who if I'm there will be looking at me badly and do not want me there ... What do I bring to the team?,” Garcia told Spanish outlet Marca.
"I really want to be there to be me, to be the Sergio who plays the Ryder, who loves and who puts an arm over everyone's shoulder to help.
“And if then you have people there who because you have decided to go to another Tour you are no longer their friend, you are the bad one, you are the one such or that, that has disappointed me and has taught me that really those people who thought they were friends of mine are not.
“Jon [Rahm] is not one of them, but there are others who have shown very little class."
Garcia's fellow Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter also hinted that he could snub the Ryder Cup this year even if he was able to qualify, hinting at broken down relationships.
“I would love to qualify. Whether I play or not would be a different thing," he said at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
"I certainly don’t expect to get one of the six picks. Not in any way, shape or form. Which is also a shame. What does that tell you? What is the story there?”
While Team Europe may look in crisis, the side has been boosted by the Hero Cup, which featured a number of younger players and potential rookies including the likes of Victor Perez, Robert MacIntyre, Guido Migliozzi, Sepp Straka and Nicolai Hojgaard.
McIlroy hinted at the team needing fresh blood in September, and it seems that is the way Luke Donald and the DP World Tour will go.
"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," he said. "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."
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. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, 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 2-6. 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: Titleist Pro V1x
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