Rory McIlroy feels it is a shame that Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia will not someday captain Europe’s Ryder Cup team after they quit the DP World Tour.
The trio stepped aside after being sanctioned for joining rival LIV Golf, thus rendering them ineligible for inclusion when the match against the United States begins in Rome in September.
On Thursday, Westwood spoke out against the European Tour following the controversy, seemingly closing the door on any hope of a return in the future.
And McIlroy said: “I think it’s a shame that you’ve got the highest points score ever in the Ryder Cup and two guys that when they look back on their career, that’s probably going to be at least a big chunk of their legacy is the roles that they have played in the Ryder Cup for Europe.
“For those three guys to not captain Europe one day, it’s a shame. But as the DP World Tour said in their statement, at the end of the day that was their choice and they knew that these were potentially going to be the consequences of those choices and of those actions and here we are.
“Yeah, it’s certainly a shame.”
Europe’s captain, Luke Donald, echoed McIlroy’s sentiments and said he is sad that the three will not be available to represent the side.
“It’s sad we’ve got to this point but this was always a possibility,” Donald told BBC Sport. “I played with all three and they’ve been stalwarts of, and given a lot to, both the Ryder Cup and European Tour.
“I have a little more clarity now. I know they’re not an option to play in, or be any part of my team. It is a shame. They’ve got a lot of history when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
“Ultimately this is their choice and I wish them well. They feel like this was the best choice for them and now I’ve got choices to make that are best for me.
“There are generational shifts throughout the history of the Ryder Cup and maybe this is one.
“We certainly have plenty of great players to look at and pick from and I’m certainly excited about how everyone has played this year so far.”
Donald was made captain in 2022 after Henrik Stenson was dismissed for joining in the Saudi-backed LIV tour.
He will be without three of Europe’s most successful performers in the contest, with Westwood having featured as a player a record 11 times and Poulter unbeaten in singles across his seven appearances. Garcia is Europe’s all-time record points scorer.
Donald added: “There’s great momentum with European golf. We’ve already had seven winners in the US [this season] and a bunch of people who haven’t played in the Ryder Cup have played great this year on the DP World Tour, so I’m excited about the make-up of this team.”