Poulter hits out at McIlroy’s “betrayal” comments

Ronan MacNamara

Ian Poulter (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Ian Poulter has voiced his desire to represent Europe at the Ryder Cup in the future while hitting out at Rory McIlroy’s comments describing his Ryder Cup teammates joining LIV Golf as a “betrayal.” 

As it stands, LIV Golf players are still eligible to earn Ryder Cup points by playing DP World Tour events with Adrian Otaegui currently in one of the six automatic spots – but whether they will be able to represent Europe at Marco Simone Golf Club next year remains uncertain. 

Even before Poulter joined LIV it looked as if last year’s hammering at the hands of the USA in Whistling Straits would be his last jaunt in the biennial contest but he has reiterated his commitment to playing in eleven months time in Rome. 

“A betrayal? We can still qualify for the team as far as I’m aware,” Poulter said in the pre-tournament press conference for the team championship in Miami in response to Mcilroy’s comments. “Unless we’ve been told we can’t qualify, then I’m still ready to play as much as I possibly can and try and make that team. 

“I mean, look, my commitment to the Ryder Cup I think goes before me. I don’t think that should ever come in question. I’ve always wanted to play Ryder Cups and have played with as much passion as anyone else that I’ve ever seen play a Ryder Cup. 

“You know, I don’t know where that comment really has come from, to be honest.” 

McIlroy had told the Guardian earlier this week that he felt a sense of betrayal after some high-profile European Ryder Cup players decided to join LIV this year casting their Ryder Cup futures into doubt as Europe look to avenge a record-breaking defeat in Wisconsin. 

Poulter is one of five members of Europe’s 2021 Ryder Cup team to join the Saudi backed tour with Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger all joining the exhibition series. 

Poulter and Westwood admitted earlier in the summer that they were unsure of their Ryder Cup playing futures.

Graeme McDowell had been widely tipped to lead the European team when the Ryder Cup arrives at Adare Manor in 2027 and he had previously not ruled out a playing role in Rome next year. Medinah winner Martin Kaymer has also joined LIV Golf while Henrik Stenson was stripped of Team Europe captaincy for 2023 after joining the breakaway tour. 

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