Rory McIlroy backs Brooks Koepka for Ryder Cup spot, still doesn't want European LIV Golf members on team

Rory McIlroy is all for Brooks Koepka competing with Team USA in the Ryder Cup this fall.

Even though he's with LIV Golf now, McIlroy feels Koepka has more than earned a spot on the team — especially after his runner-up finish at the Masters and his win at the PGA Championship.

When it comes to the European players on LIV Golf, however, McIlroy’s stance is very different.

"I certainly think Brooks deserves to be on the United States team," McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of The Memorial Tournament. "I think with how he's played, I mean, he's second in the U.S. standings, only played two counting events. I don't know if there's anyone else on the, you know, on the LIV roster that would make the team on merit and how they're playing. But Brooks is definitely a guy that I think deserves to be on the U.S. team.

"But I have different feelings about the European team and the other side and sort of how that has all transpired and, yeah, I don't think any of those guys should be a part of the European team."

Koepka jumped up to second in the U.S. team standings after his win at Oak Hill earlier this month, which marked his fifth major championship. But since he will only compete in two more events that accumulate points in those standings — the U.S. Open and the British Open — Koepka may end up falling out of the automatic qualifier spots. LIV Golf events still don't accumulate points toward automatic qualifying or the Official World Golf Rankings.

Koepka has said that he'd love to play on the team, but that he knows the decision isn't up to him. That's team captain Zach Johnson's job, who was non-committal about including LIV Golf members earlier this month.

Rahm wants LIV Golf members, Sergio Garcia on European team

While McIlroy’s stance may sound a bit hypocritical on its surface, it makes sense considering how the European LIV Golf members — especially Sergio Garcia — have acted since leaving for the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed venture.

In order for European golfers to be considered, they have to be part of the DP World Tour. Garcia, along with Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, among others, all resigned from that Tour after a long feud. They were "sanctioned for serious breaches" for leaving the Tour for LIV Golf, and Garcia still hasn't paid his fine. Garcia has also been very vocal against McIlroy, the PGA Tour and others while siding with LIV Golf — something Koepka has largely avoided.

Fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm, despite everything that’s gone on in the golf world in the past year or so, doesn’t think that Garcia’s moves should result in missing the Ryder Cup.

"It's the best Europeans against the best Americans, period," Rahm said Tuesday. "And whatever is going on, who is playing LIV and who is not playing LIV to me shouldn't matter. It's whoever is best suited to represent the European side. And I have a hard time to believe that the best player Europe has ever had, the most successful player Europe has had on the Ryder Cup isn't fit to be on the team.

"So, it's unfortunate. I will miss him. 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."

The Ryder Cup is set to start on Sept. 29 at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy. The United States hasn’t won an event on European soil since 1993.

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