‘Rules Have Been Changed Before’ – Harrington Wants European LIV Golfers At Ryder Cup

The 2021 Team Europe captain thinks the deal between the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and PIF means the players should be eligible

Padraig Harrington take a shot in the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill
Padraig Harrington thinks European Ryder Cup players should be allowed to play in the Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington thinks LIV Golf players should be allowed to play for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup in the wake of the deal between the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Harrington, who captained Team Europe at Whistling Straits in 2021, told The Telegraph: “I think the Ryder Cup is going to have the LIV players back. Luke’s got to pick his best team at the end of the day. Absolutely. Wherever Luke can get his best team out there he should do that.“

The chances of European LIV golfers making the team had seemed almost non-existent following the DP World Tour’s victory in its legal battle against the players and the resignations of several from the Tour, including all-time record Ryder Cup points scorer Sergio Garcia.

However, the deal that shook the golf world earlier in the week may have reopened the door to the likes of Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson to compete at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in the biennial tournament after all.

That would require rule changes, in particular to those who had resigned, but Harrington doesn’t think it should be an obstacle. He continued: “I know the rules have to change but rules have been changed before. The whole idea of this new [agreement] is, look, let’s not do any harm or damage to anybody in this situation. What I’m suggesting is everybody’s given a kind of clean slate.”

Harrington also insisted some LIV Golf players would be worthy of selection. He said: “The [LIV players] definitely warrant consideration. They’re good players. I don’t know if they’re going to be selected in the top 12 players at this stage. But to suggest that there aren’t players capable of being Ryder Cup players over at LIV would be silly.”

One potential issue could be the rifts that had been opened as a result of players joining the circuit, most notably between former best friends Garcia and PGA Tour stalwart Rory McIlroy.

Again, though, Harrington doesn’t think it’s insurmountable. The Irishman has not always seen eye to eye with Garcia, either, and said: “For a week, you know, you get over it. Myself and Sergio used to hug at the Ryder Cup. When you are playing you get over these things. You work through it. You’d be surprised when you get in a team [environment] a bit of tension does help. You want a bit of drive in there.”

Garcia, Westwood and Poulter would likely be future captain material were it not for their moves to LIV Golf. Their resignations from the DP World Tour appeared to end any lingering hopes they had of taking on the role. However, Harrington thinks that has all changed with the announcement of the historic deal.

He said: “Absolutely I think it opens up again down the road. I think this opens it all back up. The next captain is not decided in any shape or form. But there did seem like a nice roll of captains going forward.”

Mike Hall

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.