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Adrian Otaegui’s hopes of making his Ryder Cup debut have been dealt a considerable blow after it was revealed the Spaniard is about to begin a four-tournament ban for competing in LIV Golf events.
The Telegraph reports that Otaegui has paid fines amounting to $300,000 (£240,000) from the DP World Tour for his participation in four LIV invitationals.
And the 30-year-old’s lengthy ban rules him out of this week’s European Open, the Scandinavian Mixed event in Sweden, the International Open in Germany and the British Masters at the Belfry.
This represents a significant setback for Otaegui, who was hitting form just at the right time in the race for the Ryder Cup with a second place finish at last weekend’s Dutch Open.
But, following the European circuit’s sanctions, he is now not able to compete for Ryder Cup points until the start of July.
He is currently sixth on the European list in his bid to automatically qualify for Luke Donald’s team, but the blow comes at a crucial juncture in the points race, which ends on September 3.
Otaegui teed it up in the inaugural LIV event outside London last June and played further invitationals in Boston and Portland, as well as the Saudi-funded circuit’s grand finale at Trump Doral in Miami.
But he was never officially contracted to the breakaway series and is still available for selection for captain Donald ahead of the showdown at the Marco Simone course.
His ban could, however, scupper Jon Rahm’s ambitions to play alongside a fellow Spaniard in Rome.
Rahm voiced his frustration before this week’s Memorial Tournament that he will not be able to resume his successful partnership with LIV’s Sergio Garcia in blue-and-gold.
Europe’s all-time leading points scorer Garcia made himself ineligible for the biennial contest following his resignation from the DP World Tour, but Rahm was hopeful another countryman could take his place.
“A Spanish duo in the Ryder Cup I think to me is embedded into the roots of the Ryder Cup,” Rahm said.
“Look with Seve (Ballesteros) and Ollie (José María Olazábal) were able to do throughout their partnership, right. So it’s a little sad to me that politics have gotten in the way of such a beautiful event.
He added: “But with that said I want to be hopeful, there’s a couple of Spanish guys playing really good right now, so hopefully they can join me on the team.”
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