Brian Harman reacts to winning 151st Open Championship
When Europe try to claw back the Ryder Cup from the United States on the outskirts of Rome later this month, they will be doing so without the services of arguably the competition’s greatest player of all time. No one in the 43-edition history of this titanic tussle has ever one more matches then Sergio Garcia. His record stands at 25 wins, 13 defeats and 7 halves. British legend Nick Faldo is next nearest with 23 victories while the legendary Arnold Palmer is the highest-ranked American representative with 22 wins.
Garcia has been at every Ryder Cup since Brookline in 1999, playing in all of them apart from 2010 when he was a vice-captain. But thanks to his defection to the Saudi-backed LIV tour and subsequent resignations from both the PGA and DP World Tours, the Spaniard will be watching the action on his TV this time.
As is the European team’s policy, there are no LIV golf members on either the playing staff or the captaincy team. The USA almost followed suit, but could not bring themselves to leave PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka out of their team, but the former world No. 1 is the only exception to the rule.
All of Luke Donald’s European team are at Wentworth this week for the DP World Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship. The 12 players have been grouped together for the first two days of the event, with Jon Rahm grouped with Tyrrell Hatton and Nicolai Hoejgaard.
Masters champion Rahm spoke about Garcia’s absence on Wednesday and it was clear that he would miss the presence of his compatriot in Rome, believing that his experience should be utilised, even if the 43-year-old won’t be alongside them in Italy.
Rham said: “I think it would be really stupid of anybody not to lean on Sergio Garcia’s experience in the Ryder Cup.
“I mean, he is the best player Europe has ever had, won the most points and has shown it time and time again. If he were able to be a vice-captain, I absolutely would lean on him. Same as we are going to lean on (Jose Maria Olazabal) this coming Ryder Cup, right.”
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Three of Europe’s biggest names, including Garcia, effectively ruled themselves out of a role at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club by defecting to the LIV tour. The English pair of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter have played significant roles in the past, particularly Poulter who was nicknamed ‘the Postman’ because he always delivers at the match-play team event.
When asked about the potential for LIV players to return to the Ryder Cup fold for Europe, Rahm said: “When it comes to the game and all those players being able to be back, it’s been a difficult time. Obviously, things have changed a little bit. I wouldn’t know how to answer because we are going to have to see if it’s possible or not, right?
“I would like to see it, but unfortunately we’ve seen some of those players give up their (DP World) Tour status where that’s no longer a possibility. So I would like to see it but we don’t know what the future holds, right? I think with this agreement or this possible union between the PGA Tour, DP World and PIF (Public Investment Fund – owners of LIV) might change things a little bit.”
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