McIlroy says ‘it’s a shame’ Garcia, Westwood and Poulter resigned from DP World Tour
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The DP World Tour announced Wednesday that Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia have resigned their memberships, which means the European Ryder Cup legends will no longer be eligible for the continent’s team.
Although it was unlikely the three would have qualified for this year’s European team after jumping to LIV Golf, which prompted the DP Worl Tour to sanction the players £100,000 for violating the circuit’s conflicting event policy, the larger impact will be on the team’s future leadership. Before joining the breakaway league, all three were expected to be future captains.
“I think it’s a shame, right?” Rory McIlroy said Thursday at the Wells Fargo Championship. “I think it’s a shame that you’ve got the highest points scorer ever in the Ryder Cup (Garcia) and two guys that, when they look back on their career, that’s probably going to be at least a big chunk of their legacy is the roles that they have played in the Ryder Cup for Europe. For those three guys to not captain Europe one day, it’s a shame.”
A court in the United Kingdom originally stayed the fines and allowed DP World Tour players who joined LIV Golf to continue playing, but an arbitration panel ruled last month that the circuit was allowed to enforce its policy, prompting their resignation.
The decision to resign their membership means that Westwood, Garcia and Poulter will not be allowed to captain teams despite their history in the event. Garcia holds the all-time points record (28.5) while Westwood has played on seven winning teams with a 21-20-6 career record and Poulter is undefeated in his singles career, going 6-0-1.
“As the DP World Tour said in their statement, at the end of the day that was their choice and they knew that these were potentially going to be the consequences of those choices and of those actions and here we are,” McIlroy said.
Henrik Stenson was removed as this year’s European Ryder Cup captain after joining LIV Golf and replaced by Luke Donald.
The PGA of America confirmed last month that U.S. players who have been suspended by the PGA Tour for joining LIV Golf retained their membership in that association and are still eligible to qualify for this year’s Ryder Cup team.