Ryder Cup 2023: USA captain Zach Johnson rules out attending LIV events ahead of Rome contest – Sky Sports

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Last Updated: 21/05/23 8:17pm
Zach Johnson says it would be “irresponsible” for him to attend LIV events in the build-up to the Ryder Cup and insists it is “irrelevant” to discuss the possibility of players from the Saudi circuit featuring for Team USA.
LIV members who resigned from the DP World Tour are ineligible to compete for Team Europe in the biennial contest, whereas those who have been banned or resigned from the PGA Tour can still feature for the American team.
Johnson said the thought of LIV players making the team was “not even a discussion item” ahead of the PGA Championship, only to be asked again about the possibility when Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau moved into contention at Oak Hill.
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“I think it’s too premature, frankly irresponsible, to even have any sort of opinion about that,” Johnson said after his final round in Rochester. “I think given where we are at right now, there’s a lot of points out there, No 1.
“No 2, you have a bunch of elevated events. Shoot, No 3, if you go back on history, there’s names right now that probably on both tours that we’re not even mentioning that could have a chance given what’s in front of us.
“I haven’t even begun to discuss picks with anybody that I trust in my circle, specifically the vice-captains. I feel like it’s irrelevant to even discuss.”
Johnson was unaware that a fifth major victory for 54-hole leader Koepka would move him inside the automatic places for his team in Rome, although does receive statistics from LIV tournaments about his potential candidates.
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“I have no idea based on the numbers, but it would vault him [Koepka] up substantially,” Johnson said. “It would vault anybody up substantially if they are an American player. I don’t know the actual science behind that.
“You’re expecting me to go to LIV events and spectate. I think the luxury of me being captain is that I’m still relevant and prevalent out on the PGA Tour and that’s where my status holds, so for me to abandon that for a week, where the bulk of my players are going to come from, would be irresponsible on my behalf and extremely inappropriate.”
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There are still three months left of the qualification campaign, with the top six in the standings after the BMW Championship automatically earning their spot to play at Marco Simone Golf Club, with Johnson then naming his captain’s picks after the Tour Championship the following week.
“I think the difficulties could come,” Johnson added. “I just think there’s so much golf. Honestly, it would not surprise me if there’s a guy, like I said, on either tour that pops up that we are not discussing because that’s happened so many times.
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“When Scottie Scheffler came out of the blue two years ago; Ryan Moore came out of the blue in 2016 because of his play coming down the stretch. Quality of play and form relative recent to the event, either Cup, Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup, has shown to be a proven factor.
“Horses for courses is a proven factor. I have no idea. It could be a really no-brainer, easy decision. I don’t want to have any sort of misconceived notions or pressures because there’s nothing there yet. There’s just so much fluidity and so much unknown.”
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