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Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia has been denied the chance to play in this year’s Ryder Cup, despite making a last-minute plea to pay off his fines. The 43-year-old was fined around £700,000 after defecting to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour last year, which made him ineligible to feature in any DP World Tour events – including the Ryder Cup.
Garcia joined the controversial LIV Golf tour back in May 2022 for a lucrative contract worth a reported £33 million. But as a caveat he was subsequently forced to give up his DP World Tour card – which resulted in an initial £80,000 fine and a ban from certain events.
One of those events is the Ryder Cup, a tour which Garcia is famed for competing at. The Spaniard is Europe’s leading Ryder Cup points scorer having won 28.5 points since his debut in 1999.
But while European golfers who defected to LIV – including Garcia, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Bernd Wiesberger and Thomas Pieters – are unable to feature, US golfers like Brooks Koepka can still compete.
Despite being denied passage to enter the tour, either via automatic qualification or being selected by captain Luke Donald, it appears that Garcia refused to give up on the chance to play. According to a spokesperson for the DP World Tour, as reported by the Telegraph, the 11-time PGA Tour winner made a last-ditch attempt to be eligible to play following peace talks between the DP World Tour and PGA Tour with LIV Golf and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
“They suddenly came to us and said that not only would he pay the £100,000 but also all of the outstanding fines if was allowed to play,” the source said. “They also said they’d play in whatever events we wanted, apart from those that clashed with the remaining LIV tournaments.
“But it was explained that, despite the ongoing peace talks, as he had resigned his membership, he is not eligible to join until next year.
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“It was all a bit bizarre as that was made clear all along. As it is, Sergio remains the only one of the LIV players not to have paid the original £100,000 fine. Lee Westwood has paid, Ian Poulter has paid… but Sergio still hasn’t.”
Following the news of Garcia’s attempted entry into the tournament, the DP World Tour released a statement. “This entire discussion is a moot point,” it read.
“Even if Sergio Garcia was to pay everything he owes to the PGA European Tour, the simple fact is that he does not fulfill one of the essential, long-standing and widely known eligibility criteria for Team Europe: ie: he is not a member of the DP World Tour. He resigned his membership, of his own volition, in May, and is therefore not eligible to rejoin until next season.”
The tournament starts on September 25 at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.
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