Which LIV Golfers Would Have Been Ryder Cup Captains?

The players who surely would have been considered for the role - but now seem likely to be overlooked

Lee Westwood & Ian Poulter
Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter in action together on the DP World Tour
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When LIV Golf was born last summer and players started switching to the rebel circuit, it soon spelt the end of a number of Ryder Cup careers.

That may change of course, especially given the recent announcement of a shock merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, which bankrolls LIV Golf, a move that might see golf become more unified.

However, as it stands, a good number LIV golfers, Ryder Cup stalwarts, look like they're going to be overlooked for the role. 


Henrik Stenson

Henrik Stenson

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In July, reports emerged that Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup captain, Henrik Stenson, was considering joining LIV Golf – and that was that, the Swede was stripped of the role.

A lot has changed for the former Open champion and 11-time DP World Tour winner, Stenson, since he was appointed Europe’s captain in March last year.

Not only has the 47-year-old been stripped of the captaincy, but the popular Swede is no longer a member of the DP World Tour, having resigned his membership last month.

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood LIV

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The former world number one from Worksop was viewed as a shoo-in for the role, following a stellar career on the DP World Tour, where he racked up 25 titles.

In the aftermath of Europe's defeat in 2021, Westwood, who made 11 Ryder Cup appearances, ruled himself out of the role for 2023, saying: "It is something I can't commit to while I'm in the top 50 and still competitive."

Now, though, it looks likely he won't be given the role at all, not unless the powers that be have a change of heart. 

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter

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Poulter became known as the ‘Postman’, the charismatic Englishman earning himself a reputation for always delivering under pressure in the Ryder Cup, and there can be little doubt that he would have relished the role of captaincy.

That opportunity seemed nailed on, and he was widely tipped for the role at Bethpage Black in 2025. 

So often the beating heart of Team Europe over the years, it's hard to imagine that 2021, when he made his fifth appearance in the contest, might be the last we see of the Englishman in gold and blue colours. 

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia LIV

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Garcia, too, who holds the Ryder Cup record for most points won (28.5), would surely have thrived in the position.

The Spaniard has often been a rock for Team Europe, and there's no doubt that he would have taken the role at some point, having been a member of every team since 1999.

Paul Casey

Paul Casey LIV

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The Englishman, a 15-time winner on the DP World Tour, may have had to wait in line behind Westwood and Poulter, but his experience would certainly have put him in the frame for a call up. 

Another who relished matchplay, Casey made his Ryder Cup debut in 2004, and he made history in 2006 when he became the first player in Ryder Cup history to win a foursome match with a hole-in-one.

Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer LIV

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Former world number one, Martin Kaymer, made four Ryder Cup appearances and holed the winning putt to seal the Miracle at Medinah in 2012.

Always regarded as a smart thinker, the two-time, Major-winning German would have ticked a lot of boxes for the position. 

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell liv

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The Northern Irishman played a lot of his best golf when representing Europe, when he forged a strong partnership with fellow Ulsterman, Rory McIlroy.

When thinking back to Celtic Manor in 2010, it's hard not to picture a pumped McDowell rolling in a crucial putt on the 16th, before securing victory for Europe a hole later.

With Adare Manor hosting the showpiece event in 2027, McDowell surely would have been one of the leading candidates. 

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson LIV

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Where do you even start with 'Lefty'? He was a nailed on cert to skipper the United States team at some point.

The five-time Major winner may have experienced the odd low point during his Ryder Cup career - his partnership with Tiger Woods was certainly underwhelming - but no player can boast more experience in the contest. 

As for some of the other US golfers playing on LIV, the likes of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka may well be in line for future Ryder Cup captaincies much further down the line. 

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.