Key golf figure hands Ryder Cup lifeline to Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton: "It's not a loophole"

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton have been handed a huge lifeline to compete in next year's Ryder Cup despite moving to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League.

Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton
Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton

Ryder Cup stars Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton will not be prevented from wearing the blue and gold next September in New York, according to a report. 

DP World Tour chief executive Guy Kinnings told reporters on Friday there would be 'no changes' to the qualifying criteria for next year's dust-up at Bethpage Black. 

Rahm, 29, joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League last December for an eye-watering deal rumoured to be worth £240m ($302m) up front. 


Three months later Hatton, 32, followed the Spaniard to LIV and his Legion XIII outfit for an alleged £50m ($62m). 

At the time, both players admitted they had put their Ryder Cup futures in jeopardy. 

Hatton and Rahm were a crucial part of Ryder Cup Europe's success story last September in Italy. 

Team Europe, skippered by former world number one Luke Donald, defeated Team USA by five points.  

Rahm picked up three points from four matches whereas Hatton contributed half a point more from the same amount of contests. 

In the immediate aftermath of Rahm's move to LIV, world number two Rory McIlroy called for the 'rules' to be changed so the likes of Rahm can represent the team in future contests. 

McIlroy was wrong to suggest the rules needed to be changed as Rahm and Hatton never resigned their memberships from the DP World Tour. 

But it would have proved difficult for both players to qualify automatically given the fines and suspensions incurred as a result of joining LIV. 

Tyrrell Hatton
Tyrrell Hatton

The exact amount players have been fined has not been made public but other publications have suggested that golfers can incur penalties up to £100,000 ($125,000) for competing in conflicting LIV events without a tournament release. 

Last year, ageing Ryder Cup legends such as Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia resigned their memberships, rendering them ineligible to be involved in any capacity. 

The latest comments by Kinnings will certainly raise their eyebrows. 

Kinnings said that suspensions can be handed out for weeks when players might not be seeking to play on the DP World Tour anyway

The former lawyer told Telegraph Sport: "It’s not a loophole, because that’s the rules that we’ve always had.

"And those are the rules, we’re just going to continue to apply."

He added: "All suspensions will count and you have to serve them. 

"And the guys who’ve analysed this in detail have said if they do it the right way, there is no reason why they can’t play in the Ryder Cup.

“We’re not going to change anything on that basis. Rules are rules and they apply for every member.

“We’re not in a position to be changing rules that we’ve had to go to court to defend.”

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm

Kinnings replaced Keith Pelley as the chief executive of the European Tour Group in April. 

Pelley came under heavy fire from the LIV players over his handling of golf's 'civil war'. 

Before he left his position, Pelley asserted he had absolutely no regrets. 

He told The Times of London he has 'no relationship' with players such as Poulter. "But that's to be expected," he said. 

"It's just business, it's not a popularity contest. Some players on this side think we weren't hard enough on them."

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