Brooks Koepka “deserves” to play in the Ryder Cup, says Rory McIlroy but the Northern Irishman is still opposed to Europe’s LIV Golf players taking part.
European LIV players who have resigned from the DP World Tour are ineligible for this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome.
But their US counterparts can still play, such as five-time major winner and current US PGA champion Koepka, 33.
“I certainly think Brooks deserves to be on the United States team,” said world number three McIlroy, 34.
“I think with how he’s played – he’s second in the US standings, [having] only played two counting events.”
Despite the likes of fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia joining the Saudi-funded LIV Tour, world number two Jon Rahm said this week that the Ryder Cup should feature “the best of Europe and the United States”.
The 44th edition of the biennial event gets under way on 29 September.
Koepka is set to earn a place on the US team after finishing in a tie for second at the Masters in April – behind Rahm – and winning his third US PGA Championship title earlier this month, with McIlroy in a tie for seventh.
“I don’t know if there’s anyone else on the LIV roster that would make the team on merit and how they’re playing,” McIlroy added.
“But I have different feelings about the European team and the other side and sort of how that has all transpired. I don’t think any of those guys should be a part of the European team.”
In April, an arbitration panel sided with the European-based tour in its legal battle against 12 players who had appealed against being fined £100,000 and suspended from the Scottish Open for playing in LIV Golf’s inaugural event at the Centurion Club near London in June 2022 without permission.
Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Richard Bland subsequently resigned their membership of the DP World Tour, with all but Garcia having paid the £100,000 fine.
Henrik Stenson, who joined LIV in 2022 after being removed as captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team, followed suit this month after the tour imposed further sanctions on 26 players who competed without consent in LIV events.