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Matt Fitzpatrick: US Open champion backs Sergio Garcia for Ryder Cup inclusion

Matt Fitzpatrick wants to see Sergio Garcia included on Europe's team for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome; Europe have yet to confirm whether captain Luke Donald will select players who have joined LIV Golf

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US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick looks back on an incredible year when he became a major champion in Boston back in June and caps it off by parading the trophy at his beloved Sheffield United on Boxing Day

Matt Fitzpatrick says he wants Europe to field the strongest possible team at the 2023 Ryder Cup, including team-mates who have left the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf.

Europe will attempt to recapture the Ryder Cup from the USA in Rome next autumn, but their preparations have been thrown into disarray by golf's civil war, which saw Henrik Stenson stripped of the captaincy and the eligibility of several players left in doubt.

Ryder Cup legends Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter all joined the Saudi-funded LIV circuit, while world No 1 Rory McIlroy, the chairman of the PGA Tour players' advisory council, has been highly critical of his former team-mates.

While the USA have ruled out selecting LIV players, including major champions Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed, it remains unclear whether European captain Luke Donald will have the same restrictions.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, US Open champion Fitzpatrick said he "completely agrees" Europe should select the 12 best players available.

Matt Fitzpatrick and Sergio Garcia
Image: Fitzpatrick wants Sergio Garcia to be on Europe's Ryder Cup team in Rome

"It might be some players from other places in the world," Fitzpatrick said.

"I think there definitely are a few personal relationships that have been dented by this.

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"I'm not bothered, I just want to win, and I'm sure those boys do too."

Fitzpatrick believes the player whose skill and experience Europe could most do with in Rome is Sergio Garcia, whose 28.5 points make him the team's all-time leading scorer.

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"Sergio would be the one that would stand out for me, particularly," Fitzpatrick said.

"I don't know the details of [his relationship with McIlroy].

"I'm happy to share a room with him, if that's going to be the case, I can corner him off for everyone else."

'Stenson departure was tough'

Stenson's removal as captain in July came as a major blow to Europe's preparations, with the Swede coming in for criticism over his decision.

Fitzpatrick insists he has no problem with any players choosing to join LIV Golf, as long as they then do not try to play in PGA Tour or DP World Tour events.

"It was a tough one because he [Stenson] had started gearing up for Rome, making notes and putting plans together," Fitzpatrick said: "And then it's like, 'sorry, lads, I'm off.'

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Rob Lee reacts to the news of Henrik Stenson joining the LIV Series and subsequently having his Ryder Cup captaincy stripped

"As long as you go and don't come back, I don't have an issue. Go take the money, go play wherever you want, I could not care less, just don't come back and then take spots from other guys that want to play.

"I understand that there's the likes of Westy, Poulter and Sergio that have played a lot in Europe over the years and have done their bit, and they have. I can't ever knock them for that, they've done way more than I have for the European Tour."

Europe are seeking to avoid what would be a first home Ryder Cup defeat since 1993 but will enter the contest as outsiders due to the incredible strength of the USA team.

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While Fitzpatrick, the world No 9, is one of four Europeans currently ranked in the top 10, the USA boast a 12-5 advantage on players within the top 20.

"I think it's definitely going to be a younger team," Fitzpatrick added.

"The young lads are going to have to step up their game and play a lot better to compete with the Americans, because their depth is better than ours, there's no hiding that."

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