It’s still unclear if LIV Golf members will be allowed to compete at the Ryder Cup later this year in Rome.
Ian Poulter, however, sounds like he doesn’t want to participate regardless of how it shakes out.
Poulter, ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week on the DP World Tour, claimed he may skip the Ryder Cup even if he ends up qualifying for the team.
“I would love to qualify, but whether I play or not would be a different thing,” Poulter said Tuesday, via Golf Digest. “We’ll see. I certainly don’t expect to get one of the six [captain’s] picks. Not in any way, shape or form, which is a shame.
“But I don’t know where my head is with that. I really don’t. It’s the only thing that has mattered to me for 20 years. You all know that. And when you feel like things change, you might feel a little differently.”
It’s hard to imagine Poulter actually skipping the Ryder Cup should he qualify. Poulter has played in seven of them throughout his career, and helped the European team win five times. He holds an impressive 15-8-2 overall record in the biennial event, and has gone 6-0-1 in singles matches.
Poulter has won three times on the PGA Tour, most recently at the 2018 Houston Open. He has 12 DP World Tour wins, most recently at the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2012.
Despite his massive impact in international play for Europe, Poulter’s claims Tuesday are just the latest example of how tense things have gotten between LIV Golf defectors and others in the sport.
Poulter is one of several notable European players who have jumped to the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed golf league in recent months. Henrik Stenson was actually stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy for the 2023 event after joining LIV Golf last year, and was replaced by Luke Donald.
The DP World Tour will argue in court next month after it attempted to ban LIV Golf members from playing in its events, something the PGA Tour has done in the United States. If it wins, Poulter, Stenson and Sergio Garcia, among others, won’t be able to qualify for the team. That group won a temporary stay on that ruling last year, which allows them to still compete on the European-based tour.
While Poulter said Tuesday that he’d rather just “play golf with no distractions,” he did defend his Twitter spat with the Ryder Cup Europe account last month.
“We always do those petty things don’t we?” he said, via GolfDigest. “From time to time we fight petty with petty. These things happen. Through time I have said lots of silly things. But that was just highlighting pettiness with petty. Should I have said it? Yes and no. All I did was highlight a fact. There was no other reason.”
This year's Ryder Cup begins Sept. 29 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy.