Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald To ‘Keep An Eye’ On LIV Golf Players

The Team Europe captain hasn’t written off the chances of LIV Golf players teeing it up in the biennial tournament

Luke Donald at the 2023 Honda Classic
Luke Donald says he will keep on eye on LIV Golf players as the Ryder Cup approaches
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Team Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald has refused to write off the chances of LIV Golf players competing in this year’s tournament, but concedes there could be issues between some of the players.

Donald was grouped together with counterpart, Team USA captain Zach Johnson, for the first two rounds of this week’s Honda Classic. However, while Donald’s focus was on the PGA National tournament, where he missed the cut, he was inevitably asked about the event coming seven months down the line at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.

Per Golfweek, Donald conceded that LIV Golf players could yet make his team via one of the six qualifying spots. However, he admitted that potential bad blood between LIV Golf players and others could be a sticking point. 

He said: “If we get to a point where someone’s qualified from LIV and there are disagreements between players we’re going to have to figure it out before. My job as captain is to create a great culture for the team to be successful. Whatever that may be, whoever those 12 guys, that’s my job.”

There have been signs in recent days that it could be a genuine issue, with a LIV Golf Ryder Cup legend, Sergio Garcia, accusing a shoo-in for the team, Rory McIlroy, of lacking maturity in the feud that has ended their friendship.

Regardless, Donald insisted that, for the time being, his final selection is not at the forefront of his mind, and that players amassing Ryder Cup points were his greatest concern. He said: “All I can do is stay in the present moment and deal with whatever happens in front of me. I’m not looking ahead too much. Right now I’m concentrating more on the guys making points week in, week out.”

Donald refused to write off the possibility of LIV Golf players coming into his thinking, though. He said: “The guys on LIV… I’ll certainly keep an eye on those, too. My focus is on those guys committed to trying to make the team.”

Donald had previously hinted that LIV Golf stars’ Ryder Cup days are over. However, with legends of the biennial competition, including Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Garcia playing for LIV Golf, there is certainly a wealth of talent on the circuit he could yet turn to.

As for Johnson, he was even more insistent that it was a discussion for another time. He said: “I’m not concerned about it right now at all, frankly. There’s so much fluidity and uncertainty still involved.”

Zach Johnson and Luke Donald talk at the 2023 Honda Classic

Ryder Cup captains Zach Johnson and Luke Donald were in the same group during the first two rounds of the Honda Classic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While Johnson refused to be drawn on the issue, in the past he had appeared to draw a line under the possibility of LIV Golf players joining his team. At last June’s John Deere Classic, he dealt them a blow, saying: "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."  

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.