Sergio Garcia knew the moment was coming. But learning European captain Luke Donald would not extend the LIV golfer and Ryder Cup stalwart a captain’s pick for the showpiece in Rome later this year was still devastating.
It made Garcia’s decision easier earlier this month when he joined fellow Ryder Cup heroes Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter in resigning from the DP World Tour. DP World Tour membership was a requirement to play on the European team and was one of several reasons LIV golfers were hanging on to their status despite fines and suspensions for teeing it up in LIV events.
“I talked to [Donald] two or three weeks ago,” Garcia, 43, said a day ahead of the LIV Golf Invitational Washington D.C., and just days after earning a spot in next month’s U.S. Open via a 36-hole final qualifying event in Dallas. “Obviously I had to make some decisions when it comes down to the DP World Tour, and I wanted to see where I stood in regards to the Ryder Cup. Luke is a good friend, but I wanted him to be sincere and tell me the truth, and he pretty much told me I had no chance.
“Obviously, that made my decision [to relinquish DP World Tour status] a little bit easier. It was sad because I felt like not only because of my history but the way I’ve been playing, that I probably could have a chance, but it didn’t sound like it, so that’s what it is.”
With the disappointment still raw, Garcia, Europe’s all-time scorer with 28½ points from 10 Cups, was not too happy with the follow up question.
Reporter: Did [Donald] indicate why?
Garcia: “You can ask him about that.”
Reporter: If he was here, I would definitely ask him about that.
Garcia: “I’m sure you’ll bump into him and let’s see what he tells you.”
But the 2017 Masters winner said he had made peace with not being able to play for Europe.
“I mean, it’s not ideal, but at the end of the day I think we all make the decisions that we think is best for us,” he said. “I made what I thought were the best decisions for me and my family and my game, and they [DP World Tour] are making what they think are their best decisions.”
Garcia said he was hoping joining LIV would not jeopardize his Ryder Cup hopes but knew it was a possibility. “I think we were all thinking and hoping that they would be smart about it and still have options open, because at the end of the day, I’m still European. I’m Spanish, and I want the European team to win.”
What Garcia said he would miss most would be the opportunity to play the Ryder Cup once more with countryman Jon Rahm, who won the Masters last month. As a pairing, Rahm and Garcia were undefeated in the three matches they played at Whistling Straits in 2021.
“I was excited, and I know that Jon was also excited about that possibility, too,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, at least for now. But it what it is, and you have to move on.”