Golf: Ryder Cup captain Donald unsure about availability of LIV players

European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald poses for a portrait on Aug 1 in West Palm Beach, Florida. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Team Europe's Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald is unsure if LIV Golf players will be allowed to feature in next year's event, but he said he is committed to picking the strongest 12-man team to challenge the United States.

Donald, 44, replaced Henrik Stenson as captain on Monday after the Swede was stripped of the role days before signing up for the lucrative Saudi-backed breakaway league.

Golfers participating in LIV Golf events have been suspended by the US PGA Tour and sanctioned by Europe's DP World Tour.

"Part of being a captain is to create a strong 12-man unified team, and I'll be working on that over the next 14 months," Donald said.

"Hopefully, we'll have some clarity on that situation and we can start making some decisions. There's a legal situation going on. But I don't think that situation's going to get resolved any time soon."

The US$255 million (S$351.9 million) LIV series, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, has shaken the sport to its core with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Bubba Watson among its marquee names.

Former world No. 1 Donald added that he had no intention of going down the same path.

"I have signed a contract and I intend to see that through.

I'm giving you my word that I will be here for the next 14 months," said the Englishman.

"I'm excited about this opportunity, I really am."

The Ryder Cup will be held in Rome from Sept 29-Oct. 1 next year. Holders the United States will be led by twice Major winner Zach Johnson.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.