Nick Faldo says it’s time Ryder Cup Europe moved on from its breakaway LIV golfers and unearthed a new generation of talent to spearhead the blue cause at the biennial contest.
Although currently still eligible for selection, it’s expected that the likes of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell will be overlooked for future contests, regardless of the outcome of next month’s court date.
There’s no doubt that the aforementioned players have been pillars for European golf for the past two decades but all good things must come to an end and Faldo believes Europe now has a great opportunity to blood its next wave of Ryder Cup stars.
“They shouldn’t be there because they’ve gone off and you’ve got to move on,” Faldo said in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News.
“They’re all at the age where Europe needs to find a new breed of 25-year-olds that can play half a dozen or more Ryder Cups, and I think we’re going to have that.”
Quite how LIV Golfers would expect to play their way onto the team automatically given their schedule affords them limited opportunities to earn points means the likes of Garcia and Poulter would be reliant on a pick from Captain Luke Donald, should their eligibility be maintained at next month’s hearing.
Such a move from the skipper would be a risky one, capable of disrupting a dressing room atmosphere that will prove pivotal to a successful week in Rome. Yet Faldo sees no scenario in which Donald would subject the team to such controversy, believing LIV golfers, as players and potential future captains, can’t have their cake and eat it too.
“They’re done,” he said. “It’s a rival tour. If you work for a company for 20 years and you then leave to go to a rival company, I can promise you your picture won’t still be on the wall. You’ve moved on. Fine, off you go.
“They made that decision and I’m sure they knew it was going to cost them. They were playing the maths game. They were getting a huge chunk of money up front, and they knew it was going to lose them sponsors, but they thought ‘I still win’.”
Not the first man to call out LIV’s place in the game, Faldo also questioned the tour’s very motivation for existing, dismissing any notion that the Saudi-backed series wants to add meaningfully to the wider game.
“It’s a closed shop: 48 guys given loads of money,” Faldo said. “What gripes me is it’s not growing the game of golf. That really gets me when they fly across the world to a country that’s been playing golf for 100 plus years and say, ‘we’re growing the game of golf’.
“If they keep saying they want to grow the game of golf, go and take it to new regions. Countries in the early days of being interested in golf now. Try that rather than just trying to antagonise everybody.
“Whatever they want to do, go and do it. Let these youngsters play what we deem is real, competitive golf. Once you’ve decided to retire, disappear, move on, or go to another job. No one’s going to talk about you, so just go and do your thing and get on with it.”
LIV’s 14 event global schedule for 2023 consists of nine tournaments in the United States.
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