DP World Tour boss insists no loophole needed for LIV stars to play Ryder Cup

DP World Tour chief executive Guy Kinnings insists Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton will not be exploiting a “loophole” to remain eligible for the Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy’s immediate reaction to Rahm joining LIV Golf in December was to call for the rules to be rewritten to ensure the two-time major champion could represent Europe at Bethpage in 2025.

McIlroy later admitted the rules did not need to be changed as Rahm and Hatton were eligible as long as they maintained their DP World Tour memberships by playing four regular events per season.

The pair will also earn points towards qualification through major championships, but face fines and suspensions for playing in LIV tournaments without the required “conflicting event” releases.

However, it was not widely understood that suspensions are automatically applied to the next DP World Tour event for which the player is eligible and for which entries are still open, even if they had no intention of playing that event.

“It’s not a loophole because that’s the rules we’ve always had and those are the rules we are going to continue to apply,” Kinnings said.

“All suspensions will count, and you have to serve them. And the guys who’ve analysed this in detail have said if they do it the right way, there is no reason why they can’t play in the Ryder Cup.

“We’re not going to change anything on that basis. Rules are rules and they apply for every member. We’re not in a position to be changing rules that we’ve had to go to court to defend.”

In April 2023, an arbitration panel ruled that the Tour had the right to sanction players for “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.

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.

Asked if such players were aware of how the tournament suspensions worked, Kinnings added: “I have no idea what they thought.

“To be perfectly honest, this isn’t new news because, as you know, I had an extremely thorough Ryder Cup captain and a brilliant assistant.

“For the last Ryder Cup they were analysing every player who was eligible and that was players on whatever Tour they were on.

“And had certain players played well enough, like Brooks [Koepka] did, then they could have been in the Ryder Cup team. As it is, they didn’t.”

Koepka, who finished second in the 2023 Masters and won the US PGA Championship the following month, slipped out of the automatic qualifying places in the final event but was given a wild card by United States captain Zach Johnson.

It is understood that the DP World Tour’s members handbook does not go into specifics of suspensions as they are assessed on a case by case basis, but that sanction letters sent to players do make it clear from which tournaments they will be suspended.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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