‘The Postman’ was not having that.
Ian Poulter was made aware of Rory McIlroy comments about LIV Golf defectors possibly harming the Ryder Cup prospects of Team Europe, and he was far from happy about it.
The English golfer, and Ryder Cup stalwart, was at a press conference for the ‘Team Championship’ event that wraps up the first season of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.
In an interview with Ewen Murray, published by The Guardian, Rory McIlroy said the decision of former Ryder Cup teammates – like Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer – to leave the PGA and DP World Tour behind was ‘the first time in my life that I have felt betrayal, in a way’. He added:
“You build bonds with these people through Ryder Cups and other things. Them knowing that what they are about to do is going to jeopardise them from being a part of that ever again? There was a great opportunity for G Mac to maybe be the captain at Adare in 2027. Most of Sergio’s legacy is Ryder Cup-based, same with Poulter, Westwood.”
A reporter present at the LIV Golf Captains’ Selection Press Conference brought up the Rory McIlroy interview to Ian Poulter, who has teamed up with the world number one frequently in past Ryder Cup events.
The 46-year-old was clearly upset at the word “betrayal” being used, and suggested he and other LIV golfers could yet play in next year’s Ryder Cup. Here is how the exchange went down:
Q. There was an interview with Rory McIlroy that’s been published this week in which he described you guys going to LIV in Ryder Cup terms as a “betrayal.” I need to ask you what your reaction to that was.
IAN POULTER: A betrayal? We can still qualify for the team as far as I’m aware. 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.
Q. I think the point he was making was that the very fact that you may have jeopardized a Ryder Cup future, and likewise for Ian and Henrik and Graeme. I don’t know if they’d be prepared to comment.
IAN POULTER: I mean, look, 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.
You know, I don’t know where that comment really has come from, to be honest.
As for the upcoming event, Poulter said, “I think we’ve got a strong team. It’s going to be a fun Sunday.
“Whoever holds that trophy on Sunday night I’m sure is going to be pretty happy, pretty pumped, and we might even see a fist pump out of Lee Westwood. Maybe not.”