Home » Rory McIlroy calls for major rule change after Jon Rahm’s LIV Golf move

Rory McIlroy calls for major rule change after Jon Rahm’s LIV Golf move

Rory McIlroy said Europe must make changes to its Ryder Cup qualification rules after Jon Rahm’s controversial move to LIV Golf was confirmed.

The Masters champion has become the latest elite player to join LIV Golf from the PGA Tour, as the Spaniard signed a deal that is reportedly worth up to £450m.

Rahm, the World No 3, has played in Europe’s last three Ryder Cup teams and was a key part in the stunning victory over the USA in Rome earlier this year after going unbeaten in his four matches.

But his move to LIV Golf will spark fresh debate over whether players who have joined the Saudi-backed tour should be allowed to play in the team-based tournament.

Several European Ryder Cup greats, such Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson, were ruled out of Ryder Cup contention after LIV Golf was established in 2022.

Stenson, the former Open champion, even had the captaincy taken away after joining LIV Golf and the Swede was replaced by Luke Donald.

But McIlroy, who was once a critic of LIV Golf before the breakaway series signed a deal with the PGA Tour, insisted that Rahm should be allowed to play for Europe when they look to defend the Ryder Cup in the USA in 2025.

“Jon [Rahm] is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so, because of this decision, the European Tour are going to have to rewrite the rules for Ryder Cup eligibility,” McIlroy told Sky Sports News. “There’s absolutely no question about that – I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.

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“I’m going to miss competing against him week in, week out. He has got so much talent, he’s so tenacious and he’s a great team-mate in the Ryder Cup. The thing that I’ve realised is that you can’t judge someone for making a decision that they feel is the best thing for them.

“Is it disappointing to me? Yes, but the landscape of golf changed on June 6th, when the framework agreement was announced, and I think because of that it made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV a little bit easier for guys.

“They let the first guys really take the heat and then this framework agreement legitimised basically what LIV was trying to do, then I think it’s made it easier now if that’s really what you want to do.

“My opinion now is and there’s only one great team event in golf and that’s the Ryder Cup and that’s never going to change. But if the public wants some more team competition, then you know you have to cater for what the public demands.”

On his Ryder Cup future, Rahm told reporters on Thursday night: “My position with the Ryder Cup stands as it’s always been. I love the Ryder Cup.

“I’ve explained many times how meaningful it is to me and I surely hope I can be in future editions of the Ryder Cup.

“That’s not up to me right now, but if it was up to me, I’ll be eligible to play so I surely hope I can keep up the good golf, keep playing good golf and give them a reason to have me on the team.”

Rahm previously insisted financial rewards and the format of LIV Golf did not interest him, saying then “I want to play against the best in the world in a format that’s been going on for hundreds of years.”