Ryder Cup hopeful after LIV Golf star earns £19m: "What's justified about it?"

A potential European Ryder Cup player has added his thoughts on Greg Norman's LIV Golf series.

Lara Kuipers's picture
Sun, 14 May 2023
Ryder Cup hopeful after LIV Golf star earns £19m: "What's justified about it?"

A Ryder Cup hopeful has responded to the lucrative pay cheques received by LIV Golf players, saying joining the league is "taking the easy road" in a recent interview. 

Matt Wallace, 33, recently spoke with The Telegraph's James Corrigan about his thoughts on LIV Golf and his determination to make the Ryder Cup team this year when it heads to Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in late September. 

He told Corrigan: 

“I know I could do well at the Ryder Cup. I love sport and this is the huge sporting event that I feel  this close to and can be a part of. It means so much to me, but I can’t let it be so much to me. This is my third campaign in trying to make it, and the last two haven’t worked out in my favour. So this one will be different.

Wallace is currently ranked No. 116 in the world and his best current chance to make the team would be by impressing Luke Donald enough for a captain's pick. 

And by refusing to join LIV Golf, Wallace's chances are increased. 

A flurry of DP World Tour and Ryder Cup legends have all recently resigned from the Tour to avoid sanctions from joining LIV Golf.

As a result, their Ryder Cup hopes for 2023 are over. 

Related: LIV Golf stars confirm DP World Tour RESIGNATIONS: "Consequences of own choices"

Related: LIV Golf stars face '500k fines' by DP World Tour as more resignations expected

Wallace also has ample chances to move up in the World Rankings between now and September to qualify for a spot on the team, however, LIV Golf members do not. 

And it's Wallace's intense passion to win and make the Ryder Cup team that prevented him from joining Greg Norman's Saudi-backed LIV Golf series. 

Wallace admitted to being approached by the series early on, but said he didn't understand the allure. 

“But I didn't even understand the concept and was told to pluck a number out of the air, so I did and it was genuinely obscene. But then, when it was happening, I was slowly declining in the rankings and I’ve just never been about it. It’s not been a thing for me. I love the highs and the lows of golf. Yeah, I won in Puntancana but I’ve now missed the last three cuts.
“On that Tour, you can’t miss a cut and experience those lows. You’re just taking the easy road, which I don’t have any qualms about with some of the players. If I was in their position at that stage of my career, maybe I’d have done the same . But some of the other players that have gone, well it feels like their careers have kind of ended a little short. They could’ve done a lot more things.”

LIV Golf member Talor Gooch recently became the first back-to-back winner of the series after earning victories in Adelaide and Singapore.

Related: Talor Gooch and Dustin Johnson's feud continues at LIV Golf Tulsa!

Each individual LIV Golf win comes with a $4m prize from the $20m purse, while there's also an additional $5m purse split between the top three teams.

But Wallace said the competition is "what gets him buzzed."

“I saw my mate Talor Gooch has earned £19 million on LIV now or something," Wallace told Corrigan, adding:

“Great for him. But there was an article online saying that his decision must be justified and I look at it and go what’s justified about it? That he’s won £19 million? He got no world ranking points, no FedEx Cup points, nothing from it apart from a cheque and a trophy and he’s beaten a few players on there. Awesome. He’s probably playing the best golf in the world but that is kind of all he’s got from it.
“I know he likes his wine, so he’ll have bought a bunch, but for me the things that get me up in the morning are world ranking points, FedEx Cup points - and then the money. Because the first two take care of the third. That’s what gets me buzzed.”

Both Wallace and Gooch are listed in the field for the season's second major next week with the PGA Championship. The tournament begins 18 May at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. 

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