Donald says Rahm and Hatton are eligible for Ryder Cup and aren’t being judged for LIV moves

Ronan MacNamara

Luke Donald (Image: Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Team Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald says nobody from Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team last year is judging Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton for joining LIV Golf this season.

Last week, Hatton became the latest. high-profile name to move to the Saudi backed tour alongside record signing Rahm and DP World Tour player of the year, Adrian Meronk.

“We still have a group WhatsApp chat, and we’re all participating in that chat that we created for Rome,” explained Donald ahead of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.


“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.

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

Following Rahm’s move to LIV in December, Rory McIlroy stated that the eligibility and qualifying criteria for the European team would need to be changed to accommodate the Spaniard but Donald says neither Rahm or Hatton are ineligible under the current rules as they still hold DP World Tour membership.

“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. 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.”

Donald has already retained stats guru Edoardo Molinari for the 2025 Ryder Cup in Bethpage Black and says any decision to employ former stars like Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter would depend on relationships between players on the PGA TOUR and LIV.

“It’s always a possibility. Again, I do think the vice captains that I had in place last year obviously were very much in touch with a lot of the players that were eligible. Again, the Sergios, the Lees, the Ians, those guys have a legacy and a history and part of the Ryder Cup.

“But again, it’s very hard to tell. A role of a vice captain is being around the players and having those relationships.

“We didn’t have anyone on LIV in the 2023 Ryder Cup, so we’ll have to see whether those relationships are good enough.”

The Englishman also wouldn’t be surprised if those who defected to LIV were met with stiff consequences in the future.

“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.

“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 since 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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