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British golfing great Nick Faldo has laughed off suggestions that Europe’s Ryder Cup team will be hampered without Sergio Garcia by claiming that the Spaniard and his fellow LIV golf rebels are “done”. Team captain Luke Donald has named his 12-man squad to try to regain the coveted trophy from the USA at Rome’s Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in 10 days’ time, but the chosen dozen does not include any representation from the breakaway LIV tour.
But it has since emerged that Garcia, who has played in every Ryder Cup apart from one since 1999 and is the leading points-scorer of all-time, made a last-ditch attempt to earn himself an unlikely place in the European line-up.
According to the Telegraph, the former Masters champion offered to repay his £700,000 in owed fines to the DP World Tour to reinstate his eligibility. But the 43-year-old’s proposal was rejected by the Tour, ensuring that Garcia, who was a vice-captain in 2010, will miss the Ryder Cup this year for the first time in over 24 years.
Former European captain Faldo, who picked Garcia in his 2008 team but controversially only played him once in the Saturday sessions, was asked if the European team would be hampered without their near ever-present player of the past two decades.
Faldo replied on Golf Today: “You’ve got to be kidding! I think we have got one of the strongest teams we’ve ever had, plus those guys [on the LIV tour] have not played in enough tournaments.
“They’re in a different world now, they have left the Tour and haven’t supported the Tour, so hey, they are done and that’s it. The team has moved on, the game has moved on, and Team Europe is fantastic. I don’t think they could do anything better.
“They have got a really big deep backbone with guys that have been around before. We might even have a couple of very interesting secret rookies up our sleeve, which I think is very powerful.”
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Faldo has been critical of Garcia in the past. Whilst commentating on the 2014 Ryder Cup for NBC, he labelled the Spaniard’s efforts in his 2008 team as “useless”.
The former world No 1 would later retract his comment somewhat, recognising the harshness of his judgement. He told NBC: “In semi-jest, I used a word which, maybe I could have chosen a better word, if I had gone for lousy, that might have captured it better because that was his worst-ever Ryder Cup.
“I believe I know the reasons why but I am not going to add any more fuel to the fire. More importantly, I wish Sergio and the European team an exceptional day today. That is all it is. It is a long time ago and when you react on live television it might come over a little harsh, but there was no malice.”
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