Team Europe’s all time leading Ryder Cup points scorer, Sergio Garcia, has reportedly been ‘denied a desperate last-ditch attempt’ to play in the showdown in Italy later this month.
Luke Donald finalised his Ryder Cup team two weeks ago, with Justin Rose returning to the European side for the first time in five years alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry, all selected as captains picks.
But there was no room in the squad for any LIV Golf players, who had been fined and suspended from playing on the DP World Tour after the emergence of the breakaway Saudi-backed golf league.
Garcia, along with stalwarts of the European Tour Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter had resigned their memberships from the competition earlier this year, rendering any hopes of appearing in the tournament in Rome obsolete.
Questions had arisen following golf’s shock merger over whether the trio would be eligible to compete at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club at the end of September. But those hopes were extinguished by DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley who, in June, re-affirmed that LIV golfers ‘were still ineligible to play’ at the Ryder Cup.
Sergio Garcia (pictured) has had a ‘desparate last-ditch attempt to play in the Ryder Cup rebuffed’
It comes as Luke Donald (pictured) has already finalised his team to play in the upcoming showdown in Rome
Garcia (pictured) resigned his DP World Tour membership earlier this year and was subsequently fined £100,000 and suspended by the Tour that he won 16 times on in his career
But now, according to the Telegraph, Garcia has made an astonishing U-turn in a bid to feature in the biennial tournament, with the outlet claiming that he had made a ‘desperate last-ditch attempt to play in the Ryder Cup, offering to pay the DP World Tour the outstanding fines owed by LIV Golfers.’
It came after the Tour won a landmark legal battle against the LIV Golf rebels back in April, with a sports arbitration panel ordered the European Tour defectors to each pay fines of £100,000.
The Telegraph claims that Garcia, who had refused to pay his fine, ‘was rebuffed by the DP World Tour’ for his late attempt to play in Rome, with the Tour saying ‘there was no way back in time for the match in Rome.’
A source close to the DP World Tour reportedly told the Telegraph: ‘They suddenly came to us and said that not only would he pay the £100,000 but also all of the outstanding fines if was allowed to play,’ the source said, who estimated the complete bill at more than £700,000.
‘They also said they’d play in whatever events we wanted, apart from those that clashed with the remaining LIV tournaments.
‘But it was explained that, despite the ongoing peace talks, as he had resigned his membership, he is not eligible to join until next year.
‘It was all a bit bizarre as that was made clear all along. As it is, Sergio remains the only one of the LIV players not to have paid the original £100,000 fine. Lee Westwood has paid, Ian Poulter has paid… but Sergio still hasn’t.’
Garcia had offered to pay £700,000 in fines to try and secure his place on Luke Donald’s side
But he will not be eligible to play, missing the tournament for only the second time sine 1999, after Keith Pelley re-affirmed that defectors would not be eligible to play in Rome, even after golf’s shock merger
Garcia (left) is the European Tour’s all-time leading points scorer at the Ryder Cup, after he surpassed Nick Faldo in 2021 winning all three of his matches at Whistling Straits
Mail Sport understands that the 2017 Masters champion is hopeful to one day captain a Ryder Cup side after the sensational merger opened the doors for a potential re-integration to the European Tour.
Garcia, who has 16 career wins on the DP World Tour and 11 on the PGA Tour, has, apart from 2010, been a member of every European Ryder cup team since 1999, boasting a record of 25-13-7, helping the side win on six occasions.
In 2021, he surpassed Sir Nick Faldo to become the player with the most individual match victories, 25, after winning three of his four matches at Whistling Straits.
But he will not feature in Rome, with Pelley stating earlier this year: ‘There have been several suggestions that with the joint commitment to end further litigation between the parties, this also means our sanctions against players who broke our Regulations will be waived,’ DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley wrote in a memo to players obtained by ESPN on Wednesday.
‘That is not the case. The suspensions and fines previously imposed remain effective.’