Rory McIlroy was surprised by Keegan Bradley's appointment as the USA captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup, saying there is no way a player-captain role can work effectively.

The PGA of America confirmed Bradley's appointment on Monday after Tiger Woods decided against leading the team at Bethpage Black golf course in New York.

Bradley just missed out on the team for last year's 16.5-11.5 loss to Europe in Rome but was expected to be in contention for a place at the USA's home tournament, prompting several players to express surprise at his appointment.

While McIlroy believes Bradley's experience of the course will benefit the USA, he is unsure what to make of the appointment.

"It's a surprise for everyone. But he knows Bethpage very well. He went to university in the area. He's obviously very passionate about the Ryder Cup," McIlroy said.

"It's certainly a departure from what the US have done over the last few years, and time will tell if that's a good thing or not."

Asked if serving as a player and captain at the same time can ever work, McIlroy revealed he has rejected the chance to take on such a role for the 2027 event, which takes place in County Limerick, Ireland. 

"Absolutely not," McIlroy said. "I've contemplated it for Adare but there's too much work that goes into it. I've seen what Luke [Donald] went through, preparing for Rome.

"There's no way you can be as good a captain as you need to be and be a playing captain as well. If you want to be the best captain you can be, you can't play. 

"If you want to be the best player, you can't captain. So it's one or the other, especially with how big the Ryder Cup has become and how many things you have to do in the lead-up.

"Keegan is the 19th-ranked in the world so he has a great chance of making the team. If he does, I think he's going to have to give that captaincy role to one of the vice-captains."

Europe will look to win the Ryder Cup on American soil for the first time since 2012 next year, with the event starting on September 25.

Keegan Bradley's appointment as the USA captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup was "surprising", says Xander Schauffele, but he is confident he is up to the task.

The PGA of America confirmed the decision on Monday after Tiger Woods decided against leading the team in New York.

Bradley was left out of the team for last year's 16.5-11.5 defeat to Team Europe in Italy, and emerged as a late contender before the announcement.

The move took many by surprise, with two-time Ryder Cup player Xander Schauffele admitting he was also expecting Woods to be named Zach Johnson's successor.

"Yeah, it's surprising," he said during a press conference ahead of The Open Championship.

"You typically expect someone that's a little bit older to get selected as a captain. I think a lot of people were banking on Tiger to do it.

"He obviously has a lot on his plate. Keegan expressed his love for the Ryder Cup publicly, which we all saw.

"I haven't talked to him or seen him yet, but I'm sure he's over the moon and is going to do a great job.

"He's a very passionate individual. On the course, he's intense, that's just how he competes and how he is.

"As a captain, he's going to have a mixed bag, and he's not going to be afraid to hold a speech with the guys and get everyone going."

Keegan Bradley has been announced as the surprise Team USA captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup, despite expectations for Tiger Woods to take the role.

The PGA of America confirmed its decision on Monday as the United States aim to bounce back from their 2023 humbling in Italy by Team Europe.

Woods had reportedly been in discussion with the PGA over leading his country next September, though Bradley emerged as a left-field contender late before the announcement.

"I am incredibly honored to accept this opportunity to Captain the United States Team at the 2025 Ryder Cup," Bradley said.

"I would like to thank the PGA of America Ryder Cup Committee for their trust in me as we embark on this journey to Bethpage Black.

"My passion and appreciation for golf's greatest team event have never been stronger.

"The Ryder Cup is unlike any other competition in our sport, and this edition will undoubtedly be particularly special given the rich history and enthusiastic spectators at this iconic course.

"I look forward to beginning preparations for 2025."

Stewart Cink, the 2009 Open champion, was another name alongside 15-time major winner Woods.

Yet Bradley will lead the USA fightback at Bethpage Black, succeeding Zach Johnson after a 16.5-11.5 defeat last year.

The 38-year-old Bradley is still an active member on the PGA Tour, having also featured twice as a player in defeats at the Ryder Cup in 2012 and 2014.

Former world number one Luke Donald will serve as Europe's captain for a second time, having led Europe to the aforementioned victory in Rome.

1200 – Burns hit back against McIlroy, who had taken the third hole, by producing a fine putt to half the deficit on the next.

 

 

1150 – Tyrrell Hatton holed a great putt to move one up against Brian Harman as Europe continued to dominate, although Scheffler ended Rahm’s two-hole winning run to cut the Spaniard’s lead in half.

1140 – You could tell Matt Fitzpatrick was happy with his opening shot with the speed at which he picked up his tee and marched on. That set the tone for the Yorkshireman to win the first hole.

That left Europe leading four of the five matches, with Rahm and Hovland both two up. What a start!

1130 – A par on the first was enough for McIlroy to win the hole against Burns, putting him one up like Rahm and Viktor Hovland, but there was red on the leaderboard with Cantlay taking the lead versus Justin Rose.

1120 – McIlroy received a great ovation on the first tee and followed it with a great shot. Scheffler pegged Rahm back on the third to leave all matches tied.

1110 – Morikawa was not enjoying the tee so far today, hitting another that stops just short of the long grass. Scheffler almost levelled his match with Rahm, but his putt on the second is just short.

Europe captain Donald does not believe last night’s tension will hamper his side today, telling Sky Sports: “We are excited, today is a new day. We want to start strong.”

1100 – McIlroy walked past Cantlay and LaCava without even a glance as he put all his focus into his match against Sam Burns. Will tensions rise on the course again today?

Morikawa recovered well from the rough, finding the green on the first before missing a putt to win the hole. Cantlay, without a cap again, walks out to the first tee to boos from the crowd.

 

 

1050 – Close to hitting a spectator! Collin Morikawa could not follow the first two on the tee, firing his effort way left and into the crowd. First blood goes to Europe as Rahm sinks a brilliant 15-foot putt to win the first hole after Scheffler came up way short.

1040 – Two good tee shots from Rahm and Scheffler to settle the nerves. The crowd loved them. We are under way in Italy.

1030 – Five minutes until Masters champion Jon Rahm takes on world number one Scottie Scheffler in the first match. The Spaniard looks in the zone out there today. The atmosphere is building on the first tee.

1020 – Former Europe captain Paul McGinley believes the United States need to eclipse the ‘Miracle at Medinah” to retain the Ryder Cup. Europe famously recovered from 10-6 down heading into the singles in 2012 to pull off an unlikely victory, but Zach Johnson’s side trail by five points. “This will be unbelievable if America come anywhere close,” McGinley, who led Europe to victory at Gleneagles in 2014, told Sky Sports. “Miracles do happen and this will be bigger than the Miracle at Medinah if America come back from here. Yes they have momentum, but Europe are also stoked up.”

1010 – Luke Donald’s side will also have plenty of extra motivation after the second day’s play ended with angry scenes on the 18th green which later continued outside the clubhouse. Rory McIlroy was annoyed that Patrick Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava initially refused to move from his eyeline as he waved his cap over his head in celebration of Cantlay’s birdie on the last.

1000 – Welcome to the PA news agency’s live Ryder Cup blog. It is singles Sunday at Marco Simone in Rome. Europe need just four points to complete their revenge mission and regain the trophy from the USA.

On the outskirts of the Eternal City, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald has a simple message for his players: This is your time.

It is written, in their native language, on the wall in their personal area in the team’s dressing room, which also features a space dedicated to the late Seve Ballesteros – Europe’s long-time talisman in the biennial contest.

On their way to the first tee at Marco Simone, the last thing the players will see is a large image of Ballesteros, designed by local art students, bearing the Italian phrase: “Per sempre nei nostri cuori” – Forever in our hearts.

Donald has unashamedly cranked up the emotion in the build-up to Europe’s attempt to regain the Ryder Cup, bringing his players to tears with messages from family and friends and in Rory McIlroy’s case his caddie, Harry Diamond.

“Previous Ryder Cups we’ve gone pretty light-hearted at the start of the week and then we get hit with an emotional bomb before we go play Friday,” McIlroy said.

“It’s a little different this year. It flipped a little bit and I think that was part of Luke’s plan and strategy.”

McIlroy, of course, was famously emotional at the end of the previous Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, the four-time major winner feeling he had let his team down by suffering three heavy defeats before beating Xander Schauffele in the opening singles.

“I just can’t wait to get another shot at this,” McIlroy said in between sobs and, after a tumultuous two years in men’s professional golf, he will finally get his wish.

Joining LIV Golf in June 2022 and subsequently resigning from the DP World Tour meant that Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood were ineligible for Donald’s team, although whether the ageing trio would have qualified or been selected anyway is up for debate.

US players remained eligible through membership of the PGA of America, but captain Zach Johnson made it clear he had zero interest in performances in the LIV Golf League and only US PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka was selected after narrowly failing to qualify.

That meant no place for the likes of Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, who garnered seven and a half points from eight matches in 2021, yet the visiting team can still boast three of this year’s major winners, six of the world’s top 10 and all 12 players ranked inside the top 25.

Europe have five players outside the top 30, including three of their four rookies, but can call on the world numbers two, three and four in McIlroy, Masters champion Jon Rahm and FedEx Cup winner Viktor Hovland.

They also have home advantage in a contest which has seen just one away victory in the last eight, namely the “Miracle at Medinah” in 2012 when Jose Maria Olazabal’s side recovered from 10-4 down to pull off an incredible win.

That also remains the last close contest and the United States have not won on European soil since 1993, a fact their players have been keen to play down.

“We have so many guys that have not played a foreign Ryder Cup, an away game, if you will. I think that ignorance is bliss in my opinion,” US Open champion Wyndham Clark said.

“We have guys like Scottie Scheffler and Max Homa and Collin Morikawa and myself that have played on Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams where we dominated and all we know in our years is how to win, both away and at home.

“Then all we’ve ever seen and watched is that we lose on the road for Ryder Cups and so I almost feel like we have a little added chip on our shoulder.

“A lot of us played other sports and we all love that it’s an away game. We feel like we can quiet the crowd and it would be even more fun and more enjoyable to win on the road.”

Clark also said he wants to face McIlroy in the singles to prove he is the better player and that Europe’s team could be “leaking oil” on the final day. Whether he is sipping champagne or eating humble pie on Sunday will be fascinating to see.

Pablo Larrazabal insisted the Ryder Cup was not the cause of his current lack of sleep, but was relishing the pressure of playing alongside Europe captain Luke Donald in Munich.

Two wins in the space of three events have lifted Larrazabal to 10th in the European points list, with 10 events remaining in qualifying for this year’s contest in Rome.

And with six wild cards at his disposal, Donald has taken the opportunity to partner Larrazabal and Germany’s Marcel Siem in the first two rounds of the BMW International, an event Larrazabal has won twice before.

“I go week by week,” Larrazabal said after making the long journey from Los Angeles – where he missed the cut in the US Open – to Munich.

“I’m not looking forward to anything, I’m looking forward to the work I’m doing today to prepare for the tournament.

“I know what I’ve done in the last five weeks. I know, for example, Luke Donald is having an eye on me. I know he is going to choose to play with me but I’ve had that pressure all my career.

“I like the pressure, I adjust to the pressure and whatever way it goes, it will go. Ryder Cup doesn’t take a minute of my sleep, probably jet-lag does at the moment.

“It’s in my mind because you guys (the media) remind me every now and then. But the Ryder Cup is a result of the work you do day after day.

“If I was nervous in Korea and Holland the last few holes, I cannot imagine how much pressure I would have in a Ryder Cup, but the Ryder Cup is at the end of September and we are in June. So many things can happen in three months.

“I checked off all my dreams and Ryder Cup has never been my dream because I saw it very far away. I saw all my idols playing Ryder Cup, but I’m not an idol of myself.

“If it happens, it happens, but if not I will pulling for Team Europe anyway. I’m a Ryder Cup fan, it’s one of the tournaments that I watch from the first tee shot to the last.

“I watch all the Ryder Cups on TV, the one in Valderrama I watched on site when I was 14 years old.”

Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick currently occupy five of the automatic qualifying places, with Germany’s Yannik Paul the surprise name rounding out the top six.

Paul’s place is under threat from the likes of Victor Perez, Adrian Meronk, Adrian Otaegui, Jorge Campillo and Larrazabal, all of whom would be making their debuts in the biennial contest.

“I think from the side of trying to fulfil the team and fill those last few spots, we’re looking for some rookies who are really keen to be a part of it,” Donald said.

“There have been some great stories and great victories from those guys too, so I’m really happy with where we are.

“I said from the beginning that I’m looking to see the excitement and commitment from these guys to be a part of that. I’m very excited with how it’s going, how these guys are playing over here on the DP World Tour.”

On the eve of the US PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka was asked about the possibility of being selected for the Ryder Cup.

US team captain Zach Johnson had dismissed Koepka’s runner up finish in the Masters as “one good week” and claimed he could not accurately assess the form of LIV players in their own events.

Knowing that performing well in majors was effectively his only chance of impressing Johnson enough to earn one of his six wild cards, Koepka had a simple solution.

“If you go second, first, first, first, it would be kind of tough not to (get a) pick, right? If you go handle business, I feel like I should be fine,” Koepka said.

It sounded an ambitious goal but not any more after Koepka claimed his fifth major title and third US PGA Championship at Oak Hill, holding off a determined Viktor Hovland and a charging Scottie Scheffler to win by two shots.

There may be no need for a wild card now. Koepka has jumped from 22nd to second in the Ryder Cup standings, with the top six qualifying automatically and Johnson selecting six wild cards.

And his place on the team, despite playing on the Saudi-funded LIV circuit, was immediately welcomed by one of the men he had just beaten into second place.

“I want to win the Ryder Cup. I don’t care about tours or anything like that,” Scheffler said.

“It’s something we talked about when we finished (at Whistling Straits) a year and a half ago. We want to beat those guys in Europe. It’s been a long time since we’ve beat them.

“Whoever the best 12 guys are that make a complete team, it’s different than individual tournaments. We want a team of guys that are going over there together to bring the cup back home, and that’s all I really care about.”

Koepka is just the 20th man in history to have won five or more majors, matching the totals of Seve Ballesteros, Peter Thomson, Byron Nelson, JH Taylor and James Braid, the latter pair each winning five Open titles before 1913.

“It’s crazy,” the 33-year-old said. “I try not to think of it right now. I mean, I do care about it. It’s just tough to really grasp the situation kind of while you’re still in it, I think.

“Probably when I’m retired and I can look back with Jena (his wife) and my son and kind of reflect on all that stuff, that will be truly special, but right now I’m trying to collect as many of these things as I can. We’ll see how it goes.”

The chances of Koepka again becoming a dominant force in majors – he won four in eight starts at his peak – looked exceedingly slim as he suffered a number of career-threatening injuries.

He rushed back from surgery after shattering his kneecap in order to compete in the 2021 Masters, but missed the cut and did so again 12 months later, revealing this year at Augusta that had prompted him to try to punch out the back window of his car in frustration.

Koepka also admitted his decision to join LIV would have been harder if he had been fully fit at the time, while confessing on the Netflix documentary ‘Full Swing’ that he would “pay back every dollar I ever made” to regain the feeling of winning a major for another hour.

“It’s very hard to explain,” the former world number one said. “I mean, it was a lot worse than I let on to you guys, let on to everybody. I think maybe only five, six people really know the extent of it, all the pain.

“There’s a lot of times where I just couldn’t even bend my knee. The swelling didn’t go down until maybe a couple months ago, so that’s almost, what, two years? It’s been a long road.

“But look, that’s who I am. I’m open and honest. I know I seem like this big, bad, tough guy on the golf course that doesn’t smile, doesn’t do anything, but if you catch me off the golf course, I’ll let you know what’s going on.”

Asked if he considered retiring when at his lowest ebb, Koepka said: “I don’t know if I considered retiring, but I knew if I couldn’t play the way I wanted to play then I was definitely going to give it up.

“I mean, the thought definitely kind of crossed my mind.”

Poland’s Adrian Meronk breathed a sigh of relief after winning the DS Automobiles Open to boost his chances of securing a Ryder Cup debut.

Meronk held his nerve on the closing stretch to withstand the challenge of French pair Romain Langasque and Julien Guerrier at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, which will host the Ryder Cup later this year.

Two birdies in the last three holes gave Meronk a final round of 69 and winning total of 13 under par, with Langasque a shot behind and 54-hole leader Guerrier another two strokes back.

“It’s such a relief to be honest,” Meronk told Sky Sports after claiming his third DP World Tour title.

“It was a tough day today. I didn’t play as good as previous days off the tee and tee to green so had to scramble a little bit, but super happy to come out on top and very proud of myself.”

Meronk’s victory lifted him to fifth in the European Points List and within 100 points of an automatic qualifying place for Luke Donald’s team as he bids to become the first Polish player to feature in the Ryder Cup.

“I think it’s a solid statement, a solid brick into the wall but it’s not over yet, I know that,” Meronk said.

“It’s still a lot of time but I’m super excited. It’s one of my big goals this year and it would mean a lot to me. I will keep pushing, keep doing what I can to get on that team but I think (today) should help a little bit.”

Guerrier took a one-shot lead into the final round but bogeyed the first two holes as Meronk and Langasque emerged as the most likely winners on a testing day.

Meronk gained a crucial advantage with his fifth birdie of the day on the short 16th before holing from 15 feet for par on the next as Langasque fell two behind with a bogey on 16.

Langasque bounced back superbly by chipping in for birdie on the 17th but, in the group ahead, Meronk two-putted from 75 feet for a closing birdie to effectively seal the win.

Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia have resigned from the DP World Tour and in the process seemingly ended their Ryder Cup careers.

The trio have been stalwarts of Europe’s Ryder Cup squad for the best part of three decades but last summer decided to join the LIV Golf series.

A host of other top names were lured to the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway venture with multi-million dollar deals, huge prize funds and no-cut events.

It proved the catalyst for months of wrangling and legal battles and despite Westwood, Poulter and Garcia long ago pledging their allegiances to LIV Golf, only now have they handed in their resignation to the DP World Tour in the latest chapter of the sport’s civil war.

Englishman Richard Bland has also resigned from the DP World Tour, but it is the confirmation of Westwood, Poulter and Garcia’s withdrawal that is the final nail in the coffin of their illustrious Ryder Cup careers.

Westwood remains Europe’s record appearance holder with 11 showings and Garcia the leading all-time points scorer of the competition, while the biennial event always brought out the best of Poulter, but they will now definitely not be involved in September’s latest instalment in Rome.

“The DP World Tour today confirmed it has received membership resignations from Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Richard Bland and Lee Westwood who were sanctioned for serious breaches of the Tour’s Conflicting Tournament Regulation committed last June,” a statement read.

“The DP World Tour would like to take this opportunity to thank the four players for the contribution they have made to the Tour and in particular to Sergio, Ian and Lee for the significant part they have played in Europe’s success in the Ryder Cup over many years.

“Their resignations, however, along with the sanctions imposed upon them, are a consequence of their own choices.

“As we have consistently maintained throughout the past year, the Tour has a responsibility to its entire membership to administer the member regulations which each player signs up to. These regulations are in place to protect the collective interests of all DP World Tour members.

“The independent panel appointed by Sport Resolutions recognised this, determining that our Conflicting Tournament Regulation and its application in the circumstances did not go beyond what was necessary and proportionate to the Tour’s continued operation as a professional golf tour and that we have a legitimate interest in protecting the rights of our full membership by enforcing it.

“A further update on other sanctioned members will be provided on Thursday.”

Westwood, Poulter, Garcia and Bland were all given sanctions by the DP World Tour for breaking rules by appearing in the LIV Golf series’ opening event in Hemel Hempstead last year without permission.

Europe captain Luke Donald admits he will find it hard to give his side a significant advantage with the way he sets up this year’s Ryder Cup course.

As the home skipper, Donald is allowed to dictate how Marco Simone Golf Club will play for this year’s contest against the United States as Europe look to bounce back from the record defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021.

The former world number one and some of his potential team members also have the opportunity to contest this week’s Italian Open at the venue on the outskirts of Rome, with Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre defending the title he won last year.

“Since playing it last year, we looked at a few different fairway lines, bringing in a few fairways a little bit tighter,” Donald told a pre-event press conference.

“The template for European golf is to have a slightly narrower golf course, a little bit more rough, not greens that get too fast because that’s obviously what the US guys are always used to.

“There’s not a whole lot we have changed but we have added a couple of bunkers to create opportunities for better driving. I feel like Europe has good drivers of the golf ball.

“I think it’s a fun golf course in terms of there’s potentially two or three driveable par fours. Statistically, driving is a good part of our games so to have those in there could give us a slight advantage.

“But there’s only so much you can do. The players are very evenly matched when it comes to statistics.

“You’re just trying to find little potential differences that you can capitalise on but the standard of play is very close these days. It’s hard to gain a big advantage.”

MacIntyre defeated US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick in a play-off to win his second DP World Tour title last September, the left-hander making a birdie on the first extra hole after he and Fitzpatrick had finished tied on 14 under par, a shot ahead of Victor Perez.

Pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy, who was within a shot of the lead until hitting his tee shot on the 16th into the water, finished fourth on 12 under.

That was just the second qualifying event for the Ryder Cup and although MacIntyre has since fallen outside the automatic places, the world number 91 is trying to play down the potential significance of a successful title defence.

“I worried about that for the last Ryder Cup, worried about what could be,” he said. “This year, I’m not worried at all about what could be. What will be will be and I’ll be going out there to play golf because you enjoy it.

“This week is not going to define my season. I get it’s on the golf course where the Ryder Cup is going to be. Course set up is pretty similar to last year. I did it on that golf course.

“But, to be honest, I am not worried just about this week and there is so much golf to be played and it’s not going to define the season, good or bad.

“We’ll just keep marching on and working hard and hopefully we make it there come September.”

Players who joined LIV Golf should not be allowed to return to the PGA Tour upon the expiration of their contracts with the breakaway circuit, believes Matt Fitzpatrick.

The PGA Tour has suspended players who signed up for the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed competition since its launch last year.

Speaking ahead of The Players Championship, where holder Cameron Smith will be absent after defecting to LIV Golf, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said there was no pathway in place should a player wish to reverse such a switch.

U.S. Open champion Fitzpatrick does not believe the PGA Tour should welcome them back, telling Sky Sports News: "My personal view is that you can't have your cake and eat it.

"I would not let people come back if they had gone to LIV, I just wouldn't.

"Don't get me wrong, they could turn around and say, 'You can come and play LIV if you want', but I don't want to do that. I want to stay here and I want to play DP World Tour and PGA Tour.

"I think it is incredibly unfair for the PGA Tour to do that and I would be staggered if they did allow them [to come back]. 

"I think if you spoke to Tiger Woods then he would probably have the same stance, although I don't know what other guys would have.

"If you have left the Tour that you have been on for so long and done so well, then you have left for something you think is better, even if it maybe is not always greener."

Despite Fitzpatrick's strong views on the LIV circuit, he reiterated his belief that defecting players should be allowed to represent Europe at the Ryder Cup later this year.

"Obviously I have just said there about not letting them back on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour, I completely agree with that, but the Ryder Cup is a completely different case," he said.

"For me, I would want the 12 best players on the team. Hopefully I am one of those, to try and win. That is what the goal should be, to try and win, not to be nice about who should be playing, in my opinion."

The Ryder Cup will not be "devalued" if LIV Golf Invitational Series players are barred from taking part, insists Justin Rose.

The build-up to this year's tournament in Rome has been overshadowed by debates surrounding the eligibility of players who signed up for the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf circuit.

The United States have already said their team will not feature any LIV Golf players, while the chances of any European LIV Golf participants qualifying could be limited by this week's arbitration hearing to establish whether they can play on the DP World Tour. 

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Europe's three-time Ryder Cup champion Rose backed the tournament to cope with the absence of some of golf's biggest names.

"There is so much strength in depth, I don't think it will be devalued," Rose said.

"People like watching Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter. They bring a lot of passion. They will be missed for sure, but it is what it is.

"You have the powers that be, the traditional people who still have control of golf, and you have an upstart league that is trying to bring in a fresh idea and rival product.

"It's all good either way, they just can't both fit together in this scenario."

Rose, who ended a four-year PGA Tour title drought by winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Monday, gave genuine consideration to an offer from LIV Golf, but the tour's inability to award world ranking points led to him rejecting the chance to join.

"There have been moments where it all sounds pretty good on paper," he said of LIV Golf. "The concept itself has been around for seven years and there are elements where it sounds really, really cool.

"There was never a moment in time when all the top players could get behind it because there were too many unanswered questions, specifically around world ranking points, that was the major hurdle I faced with the decision.

"I couldn't get away from the fact I wanted to play major championship golf. I don't have exemptions down the line so my clean way into the majors is maintaining a good world ranking.

"So that became a null and void, a non-negotiable, from my point of view."

Justin Rose was relieved to secure his place at The Masters after victory at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am helped him end a four-year wait for a trophy.

The Englishman carded a final round of 66 to secure an 18-under triumph by three strokes, earning his 11th overall victory on the PGA Tour.

Having last won a prize at the Farmers Insurance Open in January 2019, his success in California helped both end a drought and secure a spot at Augusta.

Ensuring his card to The Masters and May's PGA Championship had been imperative in Rose's mind, but he acknowledged it was sweeter to earn it with silverware.

"Augusta has definitely been a big part of being on my mind," he said. "I thought the simple way to approach it was [to] try to play my way into the top 50 in the world.

"My intention was to come out and play solid and earn some points and claw my way up the World Rankings and make it that way.

"This is a better way to make it, by winning a tournament. It's funny how you, by winning, earn the points and everything takes care of itself.

"[It is] a big relief from that point of view to be able to plan a little bit more of the run into Augusta now. To have the luxury now is unbelievable."

Rose is also in contention to return to the Ryder Cup fold, having missed the cut for selection in 2021, though he stresses he is not even entertaining thoughts of it yet.

"The way where I've been with my game, I've had to be quite selfish and just focus on me and focus on my improvement and what I need to do to start playing better golf," he added.

"I haven't even entertained what the Ryder Cup looks like for me, other than I want to be there. Obviously I would love to play my way onto the team."

Francesco Molinari would relish an "absolutely incredible" opportunity to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup on home soil after starring in the inaugural edition of the Hero Cup.

The 40-year-old Italian captained Continental Europe to a 14.5-10.5. victory over Tommy Fleetwood's Great Britain and Ireland team in the Hero Cup Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Molinari earned 3.5 points and finished this week unbeaten along with his compatriot Guido Migliozzi, Dane Nicolai Hojgaard and Frenchman Victor Perez.

Robert MacIntyre of Scotland was among the top performers for GB&I, beating Swede Alex Noren 5&3 in the singles to take his tally for the week to three points.

Molinari believes European golf is in good shape just over eight months before the Ryder Cup starts at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Guidonia Montecelio, near Rome.

The 2018 Open champion became the first European to win five points from as many matches at 2018 Ryder Cup and he would love the chance to face the United States in his homeland.

He said: "It's a great motivation for me. I need to be careful; it's a long way away and there's a lot of golf to be played in between and a lot of goals, intermediate goals to get there.

"So, I just need to focus on my game – it's definitely much better than it's been. So hopefully I can play some good golf and be in Rome. Being in Rome would be absolutely incredible."

He added: "I think we showed some great golf in the last few days – both teams. 

"I think both teams showed a very competitive but fair spirit. Obviously to my guys – incredible job. I'm super proud of each one of you.

"I got to know some guys that I didn't know very well and I can say that European golf is in very safe hands."

Jon Rahm wants the PGA and DP World tours to collaborate in making a decision on the inclusion of LIV Golf players at this year's Ryder Cup.

A number of high-profile players have left both tours for LIV Golf since the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit's inception last year.

Henrik Stenson was stripped of the Europe captaincy in July after making the switch, with Ryder Cup veterans like Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood among those in danger of being ruled ineligible, while the United States have ruled out the selection of LIV players.

Speaking ahead of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Rahm said it would not be smart to have a situation at the Ryder Cup – which takes place in Rome in September – where one team calls up LIV Golf players and the other does not.

"Listen, there's some people that are going to have to make some tough choices," he said. "I hope the PGA of America and European Tour make a decision together. I don't think it would be smart to have one team allowing LIV players and one not to.

"And besides that, even if they decide not to on that side, I think it's going to give an opportunity for a lot of great young players to show up and have the chance in Europe, right? It's just going to be an opportunity for all of them. We saw a younger United States team last Ryder Cup and they did what they did [beating Europe 19-9 in 2021].

"I'm hoping these younger guys who have grown up watching the Ryder Cup and seeing their idols do what they do, let's say, it energises the team a little bit in any manner and we show up there to win."

Rahm also joked about the "chaos" around the LIV Golf breakaway, saying: "I've had two kids in 15 months, so compared to that, I don't know if what's happened around golf is as comparable."

He insists it has not changed his perception of his fellow professionals, though, adding: "I didn't feel a difference in any of the majors last year. If somebody has a problem with LIV players, they're just not going to deal with them and that's about it.

"In my mind, like I've said it before, I respect their choice and the ones I was friends with before I'm still going to be friends with, right? It doesn't change the way I'm going to operate with them."

Rahm, a big football fan, was also asked for his opinion on the recent World Cup final that saw Argentina and Lionel Messi beat France on penalties after an exciting 3-3 draw in Qatar, which also featured Kylian Mbappe scoring a hat-trick for Les Bleus.

"That final was incredible," he said. "I think I took more inspiration from Mbappe. He put the team on his back and tied a final that they had no business tying, let's be honest.

"And Messi, I mean, I've been watching Messi play for so long that it's amazing that he can still surprise a lot of people. When the debate of greatest of all time is up in the air, he does what he did and carried Argentina to a World Cup final.

"It's not my business to decide who is the best or who is not because I never saw [Diego] Maradona play, but he's made a pretty good argument.

"I don't know if I'll see a final this good ever again in my lifetime. I hope I do, but I doubt it. The only way this could have been better if it was Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo facing off and they each had a hat trick and things like that. Kylian being the next closest thing, because he's clearly the future of this sport."

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