Rory McIlroy calls on rebel LIV Brooks Koepka to play for USA in Ryder Cup

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka - Getty Images/Streeter Lecka

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka – Getty Images/Streeter Lecka

Rory McIlroy thinks Brooks Koepka has every right to appear on this year’s American Ryder Cup squad, but maintains it should be a different story for the Europeans who have joined LIV Golf.

Koepka won the US PGA Championship three weeks ago, after finishing second at the Masters in April. However, since he cannot earn qualifying points on the Saudi-funded circuit and is banned from the PGA Tour, he could still fall into the top six of the standings which will automatically earn his place for Rome in September. . McIlroy thinks USA captain Zach Johnson should pick Koepka regardless.

“I definitely think Brooks deserves to be on Team USA,” McIlroy said, speaking at the Memorial tournament in Ohio which begins Thursday. “I mean, he’s second in the US standings, having only played two counting events. I don’t know if there’s anyone else on LIV’s roster who would be on the merit team. .

On Tuesday, Jon Rahm, the highest-ranked European at world No. 2, made a passionate plea for his fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia to be eligible, despite the fact that the 43-year-old had recently resigned from the DP World Tour and refused to pay a £100,000 fine for jumping ship.

Rahm pointed out that Garcia is the Ryder Cup’s all-time leading scorer and said the match shouldn’t be tainted with “politics” but should feature “the best against the best”.

However, McIlroy said: “I have different feelings about the European team and the other side and kind of how it all happened. Yeah, I don’t think any of those guys there should only be part of the European team.

McIlroy remains adamant that Ian Poulter and his fellow LIV rebels are not welcome in Europe's Ryder Cup squad - Getty Images/Warren Little

McIlroy remains adamant that Ian Poulter and his fellow LIV rebels are not welcome in Europe’s Ryder Cup squad – Getty Images/Warren Little

It will be interesting to know if McIlroy’s opinion remains the same if Garcia – or other European team legends such as Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood – do well in one of the last two major tournaments in the league. season, the US Open at the LA Country Club. June 15-18 and the Hoylake Open in July.

Still, these comments suggest the four-time overall winner would not be swayed.

Stenson was removed as European captain after voiding his contract by signing up for the Rebel Tour and Poulter filed an injunction against the DP World Tour after being sanctioned.

Later, he and Westwood both spoke at an arbitration hearing to try to overturn the sanctions issued by Wentworth’s head office. LIV lost that particular legal battle. The quartet has since returned their cards.

Garcia remains the only LIV player not to have paid the initial £100,000 fine. He and McIlroy were once good friends – with the Northern Irishman playing the role of groomsman at the Spaniard’s wedding – but the game’s civil war has caused an acrimonious split.

Garcia asked McIlroy to stop criticizing LIV and this prompted an angry reaction from McIlroy, who practically announced that their friendship was over.

A few months ago, Garcia told Telegraph Sport that Mcilroy “acted immaturely”, an accusation which, given Garcia’s notorious behavior over the years, inevitably inspired ridicule throughout the game. The couple have not spoken for almost a year.

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