Friday, May 24, 2024

Rahm and Hatton remain eligible for Ryder Cup – Kinnings – News – Irish Golf Desk

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Rory McIlroy suggested the rules might need to be changed but the current status quo allows LIV Golf’s Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton to qualify for the 2025 Ryder Cup in New York after all.

Guy Kinnings, who took over from Keith Pelley as Chief Executive of the DP World Tour earlier this month, confirmed that even he had to ask for clarification on the nitty-gritty of Europe’s Ryder Cup qualifying rules.

“If we look at the eligibility criteria for 2023, I think there has been a slight misconception,” Kinnings explained at a media briefing held in London on Thursday.

“The reality is that, under the current system, if a player is European and is a member of the DP World Tour and abides by the rules in place, he is eligible.”

Neither Rahm nor Hatton resigned their DP World Tour memberships when they inked big money deals to sign for the Saudi-backed circuit.

They face sanctions— a suspension and an undisclosed fine for each breach— for playing a LIV Golf event without an official release from the DP World Tour.

But under the current rules, which are unlikely to be changed for the 2025 matches, they can serve a suspension in subsequent DP World Tour events, even if they had no intention of entering them.

“If you don’t get a release there are sanctions, so a player must accept those sanctions,” Kinnings said.

“And if he accepts the penalties, there is no reason why a player who has taken LIV membership and maintained his DP World Tour membership could not a) qualify or b) be available for Ryder Cup selection.

“It requires a player to work within the rules, but the truth is that those rules have been looked and tested.

“Everything is done in a fair, reasonable and proportionate way. So there is no reason why anything needs to change.

“It is wrong to think Jon Rahm has written himself out of the Ryder Cup.  People instantly thought we would have to change the rules.

“But actually, we don’t. If Jon follows the procedures in place, there is no reason why he would not be eligible for the 2025 Ryder Cup.”

That’s good news for Luke Donald, who would be keen to have players like Rahm or his LIV Golf teammate Tyrrell Hatton at Bethpage next year.

“Jon will likely have to serve a suspension,” Kinnings said. “And if he does that, he will be eligible to play in the next Ryder Cup.

“He doesn’t actually have to enter a subsequent DP World Tour event to serve that suspension. He would be suspended from an event even if he hadn’t entered.

“To be eligible for the Ryder Cup, a player must play in a minimum of four DP World Tour events. Any player will still be able to do that, even if he serves any and all suspensions levied.

“There are enough weeks in the year to do that. That’s not a loophole. Those are the rules we have always had.”

The upshot is that rather than facing long DP World Tour ban at the end of the LIV season, the likes of Rahm, Hatton, Adrian Meronk and Thomas Pieters can serving a ban after each LIV event they play.

Providing they also pay their fines, they can still play the four-event minimum required to retain DP World Tour membership this year once the LIV Golf season ends in September.

With the Olympic Games counting as a DP World Tour event, Rahm could conceivably play events such as the Andalucia Masters, the FedEx Open de France and, if he qualifies, the two playoff events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

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