The last time we saw Sergio Garcia at the Ryder Cup, the Spaniard earned three points for Team Europe at Whistling Straits in 2018.
Fans didn’t know it at the time, but that week in Wisconsin may end up as Garcia’s last time representing the Europeans in the biennial bash against the Americans. The 42-year-old would have most likely been a captain’s pick at best for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Italy, but the event’s all-time points leader would have undoubtedly been a future captain — that is until he joined LIV Golf.
While his fellow countryman Jon Rahm has been supportive of LIV players still being on the European Ryder Cup team, the likes of Rory McIlroy have not. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated ahead of LIV’s regular-season finale at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Garcia admitted he heard players speak out against his involvement and said, “if the team is better without me, I ‘d rather be out of it.”
“There’s obviously several guys who feel strongly that way. The (DP World) Tour is on that same thought. So I don’t want to be something that might hurt the team. I love the Ryder Cup too much,” said Garcia, who joined the upstart series led by Greg Norman and backed by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund knowing his Ryder Cup future could be in doubt. “Obviously, it’s sad for me, how much I love the Ryder Cup and everything I’ve been able to do with Europe there. That’s the way they want it. I’m just helping out.”
An uncomfortable tension in the team room isn’t the only obstacle in Garcia’s way. The 16-time DP World Tour winner won’t retain his membership due to failed obligations. In order for players to remain members, they must play in four tournaments, including three Rolex Series events as well as one in their home country. So far, Garcia has played in the Dubai Desert Classic (T-12), BMW International Open (T-48) and BMW PGA Championship (WD), leaving him one shy of the Rolex and home country rules.
“It was a hard decision. But unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like I’m very welcome there, so I don’t want to be a bother to anyone,” Garcia said of his decision to not enter next week’s DP World Tour stop in his native Spain. As pointed out by SI, if Garcia had played well at the Mallorca Golf Open, he may have been able to qualify for the DP World Tour’s season-ending stop in Dubai and meet the Rolex requirement.
Garcia boasts a 25-13-7 Ryder Cup record in 10 appearances, one shy of all-time leader and fellow LIV player, Lee Westwood (11). His 28.5 points is a record and five clear of the all-time American mark, held by Billy Casper (23.5).
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Story originally appeared on GolfWeek