Europeans change qualification for Ryder Cup, seemingly leave door open for LIV Golf members
The European Ryder Cup team has made changes to its qualification process for the 2023 match in Italy. And it doesn’t quite shut the door on LIV Golf members.
On Tuesday morning, Team Europe announced it will follow the United States' lead with six players earning their way to the 12-man team through automatic bids and six captain's picks for Luke Donald to use to round out the roster. How qualification points are earned has been altered as well; in previous years there was a ratio of 6:1 (12,000 points to 2,000 points) between what was up for grabs at the highest-ranked events (majors) and rank-and-file tournaments. Under the new system, that ratio is down to 4:1, and are broken down by the following criteria:
Majors / DP World Tour Championship: 6,000 points
Rolex Series events / World Golf Championships: 5,000 points
Events where the purse is $5 million or more: 3,500 points
Events where the purse is $2 million or more: 2,500 points
Events where the purse is less than $2 million: 1,500 points
“A lot of work has already happened behind the scenes, but in many ways the start of the qualification campaign represents the true beginning of the Ryder Cup journey,” said Donald, “so I am delighted to confirm these details today. We are all focused on reclaiming the Ryder Cup in Rome next September and this qualification system gives us the best opportunity of doing just that.”
Regarding the matter of what to do with LIV Golf members, while the DP World Tour had previously said defecting from the Old World Circuit to the Saudi-backed league would make one ineligible for the Ryder Cup, there is no specific language barring LIV players, at least not written out in the eligibility criteria:
For the purposes of defining eligibility for selection for the 2023 European Ryder Cup team only, all references to Member(s) and Membership in the eligibility criteria referred to above shall mean only those European Members of the DP World Tour, whether Ranked Members, Affiliate Members, Honorary Life Members, Past Champions or other Members of distinction or Ranked European Members of the Challenge Tour.
The “past champion” status would seemingly allow a channel for former Euro Tour players/current LIV Golf individuals to make the team. The avenue to do so would be tough, as player would need to accumulate almost all of his points through major championships since they're unlikely to be playing in many, if any, DP World Tour events (although LIV members did win a temporary stay against the DP World Tour, and nearly 20 of them will be playing at the BMW PGA in a few weeks time). Still, it is there. There’s also the possibility Donald uses some of his captain’s picks on LIV players.
Conversely, though the door isn’t totally closed, there is an addendum to the eligibility list:
All decisions and/or disputes relating to a Player’s eligibility for selection for a European Ryder Cup team including any issues relating to nationality, citizenship, domicile or residency of a Player will be determined in accordance with the IGF Nationality Policy, subject to the ratification of any such decision by the Ryder Cup Policy Board (as the same may subsequently be known) of Ryder Cup Europe LLP.
It’s also worth noting that Henrik Stenson was stripped of the 2023 captaincy for jumping to LIV Golf, and though Stenson has threatened a legal challenge it is highly unlikely he will be reinstated.
As for the Americans, the team has stood by its initial commitment that those participating in LIV Golf are ineligible for the team.
The 2023 Ryder Cup begins Sept. 29. The United States captured the 2021 match in blowout fashion, 19-9. However, the U.S. has not won on foreign soil since 1993.