Rory McIlroy has reiterated his opposition to LIV Golf players being allowed to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup.
World number two Jon Rahm believes the likes of Sergio Garcia, with whom he formed a successful partnership in 2021, should be able to compete in Rome and said he was sad that “politics have gotten in the way” of the biennial event.
Garcia is the leading points scorer in Ryder Cup history, but made himself ineligible by resigning from the DP World Tour in the wake of increased sanctions being imposed for playing LIV Golf events without permission.
American players remain eligible despite being banned or resigning from the PGA Tour in the wake of joining the Saudi-funded circuit, with Brooks Koepka set to qualify automatically following his victory in the US PGA Championship.
“I certainly think Brooks deserves to be on the United States team,” McIlroy said in his pre-tournament presser ahead of the Memorial Tournament.
“I think with how he’s played, 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 the LIV roster that would make the team on merit and how they’re playing. But Brooks is definitely a guy that I think deserves to be on the US team.
“But I have different feelings about the European team and the other side and sort of how that has all transpired and, yeah, I don’t think any of those guys should be a part of the European team.”
McIlroy finished in a tie for seventh behind Koepka at Oak Hill, despite struggling with his long game, but the lack of faith in his “biggest weapon” may not prove as much of an issue at Muirfield Village.
“I can’t remember a time where I felt so uncomfortable over the ball for four days,” McIlroy said.
“The golf course allowed me to manage it. There was only two holes I felt at Oak Hill that really penalised big misses, which was six and seven. So you take those two holes out of it and it was what I would describe as a bogey golf course.
“It was very hard to make anything worse than a bogey. So you hit it in the rough off the tee, you got these openings into greens, you can run it up into the openings, make your par and move on.
“I needed to go back home and work on some things and, yeah, feeling a lot better about it, not fighting the club face quite as much. Feel a little bit more free, which is obviously a nice feeling.
“I think the one thing here, if you look at the recent winners, maybe apart from Jon (Rahm), they have all been sort of like medium-length hitters.
“I only hit four or five drivers on this golf course so it takes the driver out of my hands a lot. A lot of fairways bottleneck at like 330, 340 (yards) so the biggest weapon in my bag isn’t quite the weapon that it is at some other golf courses.
“I have played okay here and had some decent finishes, but I guess it sort of surprises me with the four par fives and the way the golf course sets up that I haven’t at least had a real chance to win here.”