Team Europe captain Luke Donald has responded to LIV Golf defector Ian Poulter, after the Englishman hinted he could well turn down the chance to play at this year's Ryder Cup.
Poulter has been a staple of the Ryder Cup in recent years, and integral to European success. His glittering legacy has since been tarnished though after opting to join the controversial LIV Golf Series, thus putting his Ryder Cup future at risk. It remains unknown as to whether LIV rebels will be eligible to compete at this year's event in Rome.
Donald's predecessor Henrik Stenson has already felt the effects, after he was dramatically sacked from his post as European captain after making the Saudi switch last summer.
However, it is not yet clear if LIV Golf players will be allowed to compete at the Ryder Cup in Rome. Even if he is given the chance though, Poulter could well opt not to take a spot in the team following the new-found division in professional golf.
Speaking at his controversial return to the DP World Tour in Abu Dhabi this week, he said: "It’s [the Ryder Cup] the only thing that has mattered to me for 20 years. You all know that. But when you feel like things change, you might feel a little differently. I would love to qualify. Whether I play or not would be a different thing."
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One man who is also in Abu Dhabi competing this week in Donald, and following an impressive eight-under-par 64 in his opening round on Thursday, he addressed Poulter's claims and the situation surrounding LIV players and there eligibility. He told Sky Sports : "I don’t think any other captains in past Ryder Cups have had to deal with this situation.
"Hopefully in a few weeks time from my standpoint I’ll have a bit more clarity on what is going to happen, who I can pick, who I can’t pick and we will make it [a decision] there. My goal in September is to have a group of guys unified and playing at their most.
"I am looking forward to the guys wanting to be here, trying to earn points and make that team.” Donald was no doubt given a huge boost following last week's Hero Cup, after a Great Britain & Ireland team took on Continental Europe in a three-day match-play event to prep the Europeans for their battle with the Americans later this year.
There were plenty of positive signs from the Ryder Cup warm-up, with 13 uncapped European stars trying to put their faces in the shop window ahead of September's trip to Rome.
A resurgence of new blood in the team could well be on the cards after the likes of Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia made their LIV switch.
Addressing a potential changing of the guard in his team, Donald commented: "The changing of the guard happens all the time and I am not too worried. Having watched all these players, and the 20 guys last week [Hero Cup], tremendous talent on display. They are good golfers, equally good enough to compete and win a Ryder Cup in September. We have a good depth of field."