LIV Golf Invitational Series: Ian Poulter hits back at Rory McIlroy over Ryder Cup 'betrayal' claims
Poulter: "My commitment to the Ryder Cup I think goes before me. I don't think that should ever come in question. I've always wanted to play Ryder Cups and have played with as much passion as anyone else that I've ever seen play a Ryder Cup."
Last Updated: 27/10/22 11:10am
Ian Poulter has hit out at Rory McIlroy describing his Ryder Cup team-mates joining LIV Golf as a “betrayal” and insists he still wants to represent Team Europe in the future.
LIV Golf members are still currently able to compete on the DP World Tour and earn Ryder Cup qualification points, although it remains unclear whether they will be allowed to feature at Marco Simone GC next September.
McIlroy said in an interview with the Guardian he felt "betrayal" from his Ryder Cup team-mates joining the Saudi-backed circuit and questioned their commitment towards Team Europe, while Poulter remains adamant his love for the biennial contest remains as strong as ever.
"A betrayal? We can still qualify for the team as far as I'm aware," Poulter said ahead of LIV Golf's season-ending Team Championship. "Unless we've been told we can't qualify, then I'm still ready to play as much as I possibly can and try and make that team.
"My commitment to the Ryder Cup I think goes before me. I don't think that should ever come in question. I've always wanted to play Ryder Cups and have played with as much passion as anyone else that I've ever seen play a Ryder Cup.
"I don't know where that comment really has come from, to be honest."
Five of Europe's team beaten by a record-breaking margin at Whistling Straits last September have already joined LIV Golf, including Poulter, record points scorer Sergio Garcia and Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood.
Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger also made the switch, along with former Ryder Cup winners Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer, while Henrik Stenson was stripped of Team Europe captaincy for the 2023 contest after joining the breakaway tour.
Mickelson praises McIlroy and tones down LIV Golf claims
McIlroy has regularly spoken out in support of golf's traditional tours and ahead of his CJ Cup title defence rejected claims from six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, who previous suggested LIV Golf was on the way up while the PGA Tour was on the way down.
"First of all, what a great win he had last week," Mickelson said about McIlroy on Wednesday. "He played some great golf. I think it was an impressive victory.
"Maybe I shouldn't have said stuff [about the PGA Tour] like that, I don't know. But if I'm just looking at LIV Golf and where we are today to where we were six, seven months ago and people saying this is dead in the water.
"We're past that, and here we are today - a force in the game that's not going away, that has players of this calibre that are moving professional golf throughout the world and the excitement level in the countries around the world of having some of the best players in the game of golf coming to their country and competing.
"It's pretty remarkable how far LIV Golf has come in the last six, seven months. I don't think anybody can disagree with that."
Smith to face Mickelson in Team Championship
The draw was made for LIV Golf's Team Championship on Wednesday, with captains from teams ranked fifth to eighth in the season-long standings getting to pick their opponents for Friday's opening round.
Six-time major winner Mickelson will take on reigning Open Champion Cameron Smith as one of the day's featured singles matches, which will also pit top Chilean pro Joaquin Niemann against former world No 1 Martin Kaymer.
Poulter - serving as captain this week for Majesticks GC instead of Lee Westwood - will face Iron Heads GC captain Kevin Na, with four-time major winner Brooks Koepka up against Harold Varner III of Niblicks GC.
Two singles and one foursome match will take place in each fixture on Friday, with all 32 players competing simultaneously and each match winner receiving one point. The first team to earn two points will advance to Saturday's semi-finals.
Smash GC vs Niblicks GC
- Foursomes: Jason Kokrak and Chase Koepka vs Turk Pettit and Hudson Swafford
- Singles: Brooks Koepka vs Harold Varner III
- Singles: Peter Uihlein vs James Piot
Majesticks GC vs Iron Heads GC
- Foursomes: Sam Horsfield and Henrik Stenson vs Sadom Kaewkanjana and Phachara Khongwatmai
- Singles: Ian Poulter vs Kevin Na
- Singles: Lee Westwood vs Sihwan Kim
Torque GC vs Cleeks GC
- Foursomes: Adrian Otaegui and Scott Vincent vs Graeme McDowell and Richard Bland
- Singles: Joaquin Niemann vs Martin Kaymer
- Singles: Jediah Morgan vs Laurie Canter
HY Flyers GC vs Punch GC
- Foursomes: Bernd Wiesberger and Cameron Tringale vs Matt Jones and Wade Ormsby
- Singles: Phil Mickelson vs Cameron Smith
- Singles: Matt Wolff vs Marc Leishman
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