European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald upset to lose LIV Golf trio for Rome
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Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald said he is sad that Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia will be unavailable for the team after they quit the DP World Tour.
The trio stepped aside after being sanctioned for joining rival LIV Golf, thus rendering them ineligible for inclusion when the match against the United States begins in Rome in September.
On Thursday Westwood spoke out against the European Tour following the controversy, seemingly closing the door on any hope of a return in the future.
Donald, who will lead the Europe team as they seek to win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2018, said it was a shame that the situation had come to this.
“It’s sad we’ve got to this point but this was always a possibility,” Donald told BBC Sport. “I played with all three and they’ve been stalwarts of, and given a lot to, both the Ryder Cup and European Tour.
“I have a little more clarity now. I know they’re not an option to play in, or be any part of my team. It is a shame. They’ve got a lot of history when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
“Ultimately this is their choice and I wish them well. They feel like this was the best choice for them and now I’ve got choices to make that are best for me.
“There are generational shifts throughout the history of the Ryder Cup and maybe this is one.
“We certainly have plenty of great players to look at and pick from and I’m certainly excited about how everyone has played this year so far.”
Donald was made captain in 2022 after Henrik Stenson was dismissed for joining in the Saudi-backed LIV tour.
He will be without three of Europe’s most successful performers in the contest, with Westwood having featured as a player a record 11 times and Poulter unbeaten in singles across his seven appearances. Garcia is Europe’s all-time record points scorer.
Donald added: “There’s great momentum with European golf, we’ve already had seven winners in the US [this season] and a bunch of people who haven’t played in the Ryder Cup have played great this year on the DP World Tour so I’m excited about the make-up of this team.”