‘A betrayal?’ Ian Poulter responds to Rory McIlroy’s Ryder Cup comments

Ian Poulter speaks to the media at LIV Golf's team championship event on Wednesday in Miami.

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Rory McIlroy said he felt betrayed. Ian Poulter couldn’t understand why.

In a story published by The Guardian, McIlroy talked about the current state of the golf world as the PGA Tour and LIV Golf try to co-exist. McIlroy, who won last week, also talked about a feeling of “betrayal” when his friends and long-time Ryder Cup teammates left for LIV.

Sergio García, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter all defected for the new league, putting their Ryder Cup future in jeopardy.

“You build bonds with these people through Ryder Cups and other things. Them knowing that what they are about to do is going to jeopardize them from being a part of that ever again? There was a great opportunity for GMac to maybe be the captain at Adare in 2027. Most of Sergio’s legacy is Ryder Cup-based, same with Poulter, Westwood,” McIlroy said. “I would like to think the Ryder Cup means as much to them as it does to me. Maybe it does. But knowing what the consequences could be, I just could never make that decision.”

Poulter was asked about McIlroy’s comments at LIV Golf’s team championship event on Wednesday at Doral.

“A betrayal?” Poulter said. “We can still qualify for the team as far as I’m aware. Unless we’ve been told we can’t qualify, then I’m still ready to play as much as I possibly can and try and make that team.”

While the U.S. team has said those competing in LIV Golf won’t be eligible for its team, the Europeans have left the door somewhat open, recently tweaking qualification guidelines and excluding any specific language that would ban LIV players from making the team. DP World Tour commissioner Keith Pelley also tried to suspend LIV players from his league, but that’s been held up in court and we won’t get answers there for likely a few more months.

We also still don’t know if LIV will receive World Ranking points (or when), which goes a long way in forecasting the league’s future.

And while McIlroy has said LIV players shouldn’t be allowed on the European Ryder Cup team, Jon Rahm recently disagreed.

“I mean, look, my commitment to the Ryder Cup I think goes before me,” Poulter said. “I don’t think that should ever come in question. I’ve always wanted to play Ryder Cups and have played with as much passion as anyone else that I’ve ever seen play a Ryder Cup. You know, I don’t know where [McIlroy’s] comment really has come from, to be honest.”

The 2023 Ryder Cup is Sept 29-Oct. 1 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside of Rome.

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.