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Bernard Gallacher has urged Ryder Cup Europe to change its eligibility rules or risk damaging the biennial showdown.

The moves of Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton to the LIV Golf League have given bosses at the European Tour Group a major headache ahead of next September’s duel at Bethpage Black.

Rahm and Hatton – both so integral in last year’s win in Rome – have retained their DP World Tour memberships to remain eligible for New York, but they are now being banned and fined for competing on the Saudi-backed LIV circuit.

Both have declared their intention to play under Luke Donald once more, but the duo’s fate could well rest with the decision-makers at Wentworth HQ. There is also the possibility of more European hopefuls converting to the LIV enterprise as Greg Norman and co. press ahead with their plans for the 2025 campaign.

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And Gallacher, the last man to lead Europe in consecutive matches, is adamant that change to the qualification process is needed to accommodate the best performing LIV players.

“You’ve got to put your strongest team out there,” the three-time European skipper told bunkered.co.uk. “The main question last time was Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood but they were in their late forties. It’s not like Jon Rahm who’s 29 and is a US Open and Masters champion. Rory said he wouldn’t want to face the Americans without Jon Rahm and that says it all. 

“Tyrrell Hatton is a major winner ready to happen. Take Scottie Scheffler out of it, he’s as good as the players around. I’ve always felt he’s a guy who could win a major so you take him as well.

“You can’t not play the strongest team. The Ryder Cup would be very diminished without Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, for sure.”

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As Gallacher notes, McIlroy has already made his feelings clear on Rahm’s Ryder Cup eligibility.

“Jon is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so, because of this decision, the tour are going to have to rewrite the rules for Ryder Cup eligibility, absolutely,” the Northern Irishman told Sky Sports News after the Spaniard’s LIV move.

“There’s no question about that. I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team. I’m going to miss competing against him week in and week out. He’s got so much talent, he’s so tenacious, he’s a great teammate in the Ryder Cup.”

However, there is no obvious route back into the fold for European veterans such as Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter after they resigned their DP World Tour memberships due to fines and suspensions incurred for playing LIV events.

The trio were shoe-ins as future captains, but jeopardised that opportunity when jumping ship to the LIV circuit.

“I think Lee Westwood would have made a great captain,” Gallacher said. “Ian Poulter would have certainly made an inspirational captain and it would be a shame to see the guy who has won the most points ever [Garcia] have a go down the line.

“But as that stands, it’s not going to happen and there’s going to have to be a paradigm shift in thinking.”


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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