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Rory McIlroy expects Ryder Cup changes after Jon Rahm’s LIV switch

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are considered Europe’s leaders at the Ryder Cup (David Davies/PA)
Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are considered Europe’s leaders at the Ryder Cup (David Davies/PA)

Rory McIlroy believes the rules on Ryder Cup eligibility will have to be rewritten in the wake of Jon Rahm’s move to LIV Golf.

McIlroy stated on numerous occasions that he did not think LIV players should be available for selection for this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome, where he and Rahm played starring roles in helping Europe to a convincing victory.

However, the world number two believes the deal between the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has “legitimised” LIV and wants Rahm on Luke Donald’s side when they attempt to retain the trophy at Bethpage Black in 2025.

“Jon is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so, because of this decision, the European Tour (DP World Tour) are going to have to rewrite the rules for the Ryder Cup eligibility, absolutely,” McIlroy told Sky Sports News.

“There’s no question about that – I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.

“I’m going to miss competing against him week in and week out. He’s got so much talent, he’s so tenacious, he’s a great team-mate in the Ryder Cup.

“Is it disappointing to me? Yes. But the landscape of golf changed on June 6, when the framework agreement was announced and I think because of that it made the jump from the PGA Tour to  LIV a little easier for guys.

“They let the first guys really take the heat and then this framework agreement legitimised basically what LIV was trying to do, then I think it’s made it easier now if that’s really what you want to do.”

As things stand, Rahm will be eligible for the Ryder Cup as long as he remains a DP World Tour member, which requires him to play in four regular tournaments per season.

He will also earn points towards qualification through major championships, but faces fines and suspensions for playing in LIV tournaments without the required “conflicting event” releases from the DP World Tour.

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy
Jon Rahm (left) and Rory McIlroy have won two Ryder Cups together (Adam Davy/PA)

In April this year, an arbitration panel ruled that the Tour had the right to sanction players for such “serious breaches” of its code of behaviour, a case sparked by 12 players appealing against fines of £100,000 and suspension from the Scottish Open for playing LIV’s inaugural event in June 2022.

It is understood that fines and suspensions are assessed on a case-by-case basis, with former LIV player Bernd Wiesberger currently serving a ban after paying all of his fines in order to regain his DP World Tour membership for the new season.

Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood resigned their memberships in the wake of the arbitration panel’s decision, while Henrik Stenson was sacked as Ryder Cup captain after joining the Saudi-funded breakaway.

Those four players played a key part in Europe’s Ryder Cup success over the last 20 years but at a press conference ahead of this year’s victory, McIlroy did not appear as concerned about their absence in Rome as he would be about Rahm’s in 2025.

“It’s certainly a little strange not having them around,” he said. “But I think this week of all weeks, it’s going to hit home with them that they are not here. I think they are going to miss being here more than we’re missing them.”

And the Northern Irishman was quick to defend his position when questioned on social media about his differing approach to those players and the 29-year-old Spaniard.

“Which is very true… we didn’t NEED any of the others in Rome and we didn’t miss them,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We’d certainly miss and need Jon at Bethpage.”