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European LIV Players like Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton remain eligible for Ryder Cup, says DP World Tour CEO

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Jon Rahm and Tyrell Hatton remain eligible for the Ryder Cup despite their moves to LIV Golf and will not be exploiting a “loophole” if they represent Europe in the USA next year, says DP World Tour chief executive Guy Kinnings.

Rahm and Hatton are still members of the DP World Tour and must play four events a season, as well as pay fines and serve bans following their switch to the Saudi-backed circuit without “conflicting event” releases, to be available for the 2025 Ryder Cup.

It is understood that suspensions are automatically applied to the next DP World Tour event for which the player is eligible, even if they had no intention of playing that event in the first place.

Kinnings, Keith Pelley’s successor as DP World Tour CEO, said: “It’s not a loophole because those are the rules we’ve always had and those are the rules we are going to continue to apply.

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Rahm says he would love to play on the PGA Tour again in future

“All suspensions will count and you have to serve them. The guys who have analysed this in detail have said if they do it the right way, there is no reason why they can’t play in the Ryder Cup.

“We’re not going to change anything on that basis. Rules are rules and they apply for every member. We’re not in a position to be changing rules that we’ve had to go to court to defend.”

In April 2023, an arbitration panel ruled the DP World Tour had the right to sanction players for “serious breaches” of its code of behaviour, a case sparked by 12 players appealing against fines of $100,000 and bans from the Scottish Open for playing LIV’s inaugural event in 2022.

Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood resigned their memberships, while Henrik Stenson was sacked as Ryder Cup captain, to be replaced by Luke Donald.

Asked if such players were aware of how the tournament suspensions worked, Kinnings added: “I have no idea what they thought. To be perfectly honest, this isn’t new news because, as you know, I had an extremely thorough Ryder Cup captain and a brilliant assistant.

Garcia
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Sergio Garcia is no longer a member of the DP World Tour

“For the last Ryder Cup they were analysing every player who was eligible and that was players on whatever Tour they were on. Had certain players played well enough, then they could have been in the Ryder Cup team. As it is, they didn’t.”

Kinnings: I don’t expect golf unity until 2026

Kinnings also said he does not expect golf to become unified until 2026 as talks continue between the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – the funders of LIV Golf – about a framework agreement.

He added: “While I’m all for looking forward rather than looking back, we all know that after the framework agreement was announced, there wasn’t a lot of progress or obvious progress.

“Has there been a big negotiation where all the parties have sat around and talked about the future product? I don’t think that meeting’s happened yet.

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Speaking in March, Rory McIlroy said the meeting between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund should have taken place months ago

“I can’t explain in detail or fix what’s gone before, now looking forward we’ve just got to make sure that happens as soon as possible.

“All I know now, because I have directly been involved in it, is there’s a lot of work going on in terms of looking at a working plan, so there is significantly more momentum than there was. There is an intent to get the right people in the room.

“I don’t see any Tour’s schedules changing in ’25. If you could get a resolution now, maybe you could do some stuff towards the end of ’25, but the reality is the ’26 season needs to be the one where there are significant changes.

“The truth is everyone is having to do things they probably never expected to do and they’ve got to be flexible, they’ve got to be willing to compromise so there may be ways we can do things.”

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The Sky Sports Golf Podcast guests says McIlroy does not need to re-join the PGA Tour’s policy board

Kinnings welcomed Rory McIlroy’s likely return to the PGA Tour’s policy board and believes there is merit in the Northern Irishman’s vision for a ‘World Tour’.

“I can see a lot of sense in what Rory said,” he added. “The fans want to see the best players, playing together as often as they can as well as the majors. That’s a model I can see being very appealing but it’s only part of the picture.

“If we’re going to find a solution we need to be thinking how you integrate team golf in some way and that’s to satisfy what’s been done with LIV, but also the recognition that we all love team golf and when it happens every two years in the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup it’s brilliant.

“There’s lots of ways of doing it. Would that be feeding in as two separate tours or a single tour? I don’t know. Until we’re in the negotiating room and we know what people want to get from it, you will not be able to tell.

“But finding a pathway to bring the players back, make it global, make it united, has got to be the mantra we all want to get.”

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