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Luke Donald: Ryder Cup team-mates not judging Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton for joining LIV Golf

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Luke Donald says no one in Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team is judging Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton for joining LIV Golf – and potentially jeopardising their future participation in the event.

Last week, it was announced England’s Hatton will join forces with Ryder Cup team-mate Rahm in the LIV Golf League after becoming the latest high-profile name to join the Saudi-backed circuit.

Speaking at the WM Phoenix Open on Tuesday, Donald said: “I haven’t seen too many of the guys. We still have a group WhatsApp chat, and we’re all participating in that chat that we created for Rome.

“There’s nothing adverse or anything within that chat. Everyone understands each individual wants to do the best for themselves, and I don’t think anyone is judging Tyrrell or Jon’s decision.

“Do I see them [on the team]? It’s really hard for me to answer that question now.

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Justin Thomas wishes Tyrrell Hatton wasn’t moving to LIV Golf and hopes he has ‘done his research’

“What I did so well in my captaincy last year was just control what I can control. We’re seven months out probably until qualification starts.

“We have all this talk about being potential deals with the PGA TOUR, with DP World Tour, with the PIF. I have no idea what’s going to happen, and for the next seven months, I don’t really need to know what’s going to happen because qualification for the Ryder Cup won’t start until then.”

Rory McIlroy, previously among the more vociferous opponents of the new circuit, indicated after Rahm’s decision that the rules would now have to be changed to allow the Spaniard to compete against the USA at Bethpage in 2025.

Donald pointed out that neither Rahm nor Hatton would currently be ineligible for selection under the rules, but admitted he is uncertain whether they will be able to line up in defence of the trophy.

“Well, again, Rory’s comment, he was a little inaccurate in terms of changing the rules for Jon to be a part of it because currently right now you have to be European and be a member of the DP World Tour,” Donald said.

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Hatton became the latest player to sign a deal to join the LIV Golf Tour as he links up with Ryder Cup team-mate Jon Rahm

“Jon, Tyrrell, as far as I know are still members of the European Tour and would be eligible. Nothing has changed there. Even going back to last year, there was a couple guys playing on LIV that maintained their membership, and I kept an eye on everyone that was eligible for me to be able to pick.

“The guys that decided to resign their membership, yeah, at that point I couldn’t pick them, but at this moment those are the rules, and so far I’m sure Jon, I’m sure Tyrrell, they want to be a part of it, and they will hopefully adhere to whatever the rules are that allows them to play in the Ryder Cup.”

When asked how he feels about European players defecting to LIV, Donald admitted there may yet be consequences.

“Yeah, Jon is someone who decided that was the best choice for him. A lot of guys have decided that going to LIV is the choice that they were comfortable with, and they thought it was, again, the right decision for them. I’m not here to judge that.

Tyrrell Hatton of Legion XIII GC hits his shot from the sixth tee during the pro-am before the start of the LIV Golf Mayakoba at the El Camale..n Golf Course on Thursday, February 01, 2024 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Photo by Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via AP)
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Hatton became the latest player to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf last week, following Rahm

“Sometimes there are consequences to those decisions. There’s been a lot of talks about the world rankings and should LIV guys get it. Again, I think sometimes there are consequences to certain decisions, and I think a lot of these guys knew that going into it.

“Again, I have a long way until qualification begins, seven months or so. A lot can happen with the game. It’s continuing to change. It’s continuing to evolve. We don’t know what’s going to happen over the next few months. Until I know, I’m not going to make any decisions.”

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