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US Ryder Cup captain Johnson says PGA is path to his team

AFP logo AFP 28/06/2022 AFP
US 2023 Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said the path to make his team for next year's showdown in Italy is by playing on the PGA Tour © Michael Reaves US 2023 Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said the path to make his team for next year's showdown in Italy is by playing on the PGA Tour

US 2023 Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson gave the most definite sign yet that his squad will not include players from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's start of the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, Johnson was asked how indefinite bans on players who leave for the LIV Golf Series would impact his picks and players for next year's holders in Italy.

"In order to play on the Ryder Cup team, whether you're top six or a pick, you must garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America," Johnson said.

"In order to garner Ryder Cup points through the PGA of America you have to be a member of the PGA of America. The way that we're members of the PGA of America is through the PGA Tour.

"I'll let you connect the dots from there."

The Americans defeated Europe 19-9 last September at Whistling Straits with a line-up that included three players who have signed with LIV Golf -- Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

Four of the players from Europe's 2021 squad -- England's Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, Spain's Sergio Garcia and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger -- are also now in the upstart tour, which stages its first US event starting Thursday in Oregon.

Johnson said he was uncertain how much impact LIV Golf's event would have on this week's PGA event at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

"It's hard for anybody to say that it's going to have a massive impact here or there," Johnson said. "My hope is that it does not and my ever-optimist brain says it will not because of what's already established here.

"I think players are starting to see that, you know what, it's pretty darn good where we are right here."

Johnson, 46, said several moves encourage him about the PGA's future in its fight to keep players from jumping to the record purses on offer from LIV Golf.

He has friends among those who have made the jump to LIV Golf and respects their choice.

"I've got some friends that have decided to go that route," he said. "These are my friends. I'm for them. I want them to do well. I want them to find contentment or happiness in whatever it may be.

"I'll say I have the utmost respect for them individually. I would hope they would have the respect for me and what I stand for.

"I'm for the PGA Tour. I'm for the individuals that paved the way for me in this great tour, this platform in order to entertain, compete and I would say utilize for the betterment of others, not just my family."

- PGA will be 'stronger' -

Johnson says the PGA will be stronger once the golf world gets past the current disruption.

"When things start to settle down, the PGA Tour is going to be stronger," he said. "It can get better and we will get better."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said last week the tour will boost prize money at certain events and add three new international stops with rich purses in moves seen as a way to try and slow the number of players leaving for LIV Golf.

"I've heard, 'Man, that's too reactionary.' Well a lot of things that have happened in the past week have been in the process for years," Johnson said. 

"When you have threats, you have to have some sort of reaction too. So it's both sides of that. But I love what Jay has done."

js/mw

Plus d'infos : AFP

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