‘I don’t know where that comment has come from’: Ian Poulter risks further civil war between Europe’s Ryder Cup hopefuls as he pushes back against Rory McIlroy’s claims that he felt ‘betrayed’ by the LIV defectors
- Ian Poulter was one of a number of European players to defect to the LIV tour
- The move threatened their future Ryder Cup prospects next year and beyond
- Rory McIlroy said in an interview that he had felt betrayed by those who moved
Ian Poulter has shrugged off claims from Rory McIlroy that he felt ‘betrayed’ by Ryder Cup team-mates who defected to the LIV series.
McIlroy was critical in an interview this week about his former European colleagues, including Poulter, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia, after they jeopardised their future in the biennial match by cashing in with the Saudi-backed circuit.
While a number of those players, including Poulter, still harbour hopes of forcing their way back into the set-up via legal manoeuvres, McIlroy, as the staunchest LIV critic, told the Guardian: ‘I think it is the first time in my life that I have felt betrayal, in a way. It’s an unfamiliar feeling to me. You build bonds with these people through Ryder Cups and other things.’
Ian Poulter has pushed back against Rory McIlroy’s claims that he felt betrayed by players
Poulter, speaking ahead of LIV’s season finale in Miami, dismissed the suggestion, saying: ‘A betrayal? We can still qualify for the team as far as I’m aware.
‘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.’
McIlroy said in an interview this week that he had felt betrayed by those who defected to the LIV Tour
The inaugural LIV season will wrap up with their $50million (£43m) team championships this weekend at Trump National Doral, which takes place against a backdrop of a furious civil war in the sport. Among many broadsides by McIlroy of late, there was a criticism last week of Phil Mickelson’s claim that LIV is ‘trending upwards’ while the PGA Tour is ‘trending downwards’.
When presented with those comments on Wednesday, Mickelson has seemingly backtracked. He told a press conference in Miami: ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have said stuff like that, I don’t know, but I’m just looking at LIV Golf and where we are today compared to where we were six, seven months ago when people are 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. 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.’
Poulter (R) has enjoyed a storied history with Europe in the Ryder Cup and hopes to play his part again