July 23, 2024

Rory McIlroy has triggered a fresh row with his former Ryder Cup team-mates Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood after renewing his attack on the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf.

After choosing to leave the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in pursuit of the lucrative riches on offer, McIlroy took aim at Henrik Stenson, another LIV rebel, for the decision to deny him the captaincy for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Luke Donald replaced Stenson, who had been scheduled to lead Team Europe at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome earlier this year, due to the Swede’s decision to sign with LIV.

Former Ryder Cup players like Poulter, Westwood, Graeme McDowell, and Sergio Garcia were also barred from representing Europe by the DP World Tour following a ban, which McIlroy fully supported.

The world number three and current Masters champion, Jon Rahm, defected to LIV earlier this week for an alleged £450 million, and McIlroy hinted that the regulations might need to be changed to permit Rahm to compete in future Cups.

“I wonder if @McIlroyRory also wants to change the rules so Stenson can captain the team?” tweeted renowned golf coach Lou Stagner. “The best thing to happen to the 2023 Euro Ryder Cup team was Henrik going to LIV,” McIlroy retorted.

This led to backlash against the Northern Irishman from both Poulter and Westwood, two more former Team Europe Ryder Cup players.

Poulter began by sarcastically saying, “Guys, calm down.” This is a fictitious parody account. This is not what Rory McIlroy would say. I assure you, it is a fake. He is a gentleman and wouldn’t make such a statement about a teammate.

Then Westwood added cheekily of the exchange:

McIlroy and Poulter, who represented Team Europe together on six occasions, have had a tense relationship ever since the latter moved to LIV.

In the summer, Poulter denied that their relationship had changed in any way. The Englishman stated, “Clearly, there has been a lot in the media.” “However, I had a conversation with Rory a few months back, and our relationship remains unchanged.”

However, McIlroy charged Poulter of inciting “resentment” by contesting his DP World Tour ban in remarks he made prior to the Ryder Cup in early October.

McIlroy told the BBC, “I think at this stage, if you’ve gone over to play on another tour, then go and play on that tour.” It’s okay that you essentially abandoned all of your peers in order to pursue financial success. Just stay over there, though. Never attempt to return and play here once more.

“I believe they will miss us more than we will miss them being here. This week is a difficult realization that their choice has prevented them from participating in this week.

Following their 16½-11½ victory over the United States in Rome, Donald’s team was praised for their composed leadership, which resulted in a regulation change that allowed him to keep his captaincy for the 2025 game at Bethpage.

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