Key trio's absence won't hurt Europe's Ryder Cup hopes - Azinger

golf21 September 2023 20:26| © Reuters
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Sergio Garcia © Gallo Images

Europe will be "unfazed" by the absence of Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood when the biennial competition gets under way next week in Italy, golf analyst Paul Azinger said on Thursday.


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Garcia, Poulter and Westwood have played a combined 28 Ryder Cups but are part of LIV Golf and resigned from the European Tour, which made them ineligible to play the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome.

But despite not having any them on Luke Donald's 12-player team or serving as one five vice captains, former US captain Azinger does not expect their absence to hut Europe in their bid to reclaim the trophy falling at Whistling Straights in 2021.

"First of all, I think that the team dynamic and the team environment in the European room will be unfazed," Azinger said on an NBC Sports Ryder Cup media conference call.

"The team atmosphere in that locker-room will be every bit as good, if not better, and it will be right and ready to go. Those guys they are on a mission."

Garcia is the Ryder Cup's record points scorer with 28.5, while Westwood has played a record 11 matches, being part of seven winning teams. Poulter has also played a key role in some of Europe's biggest successes.

Fellow NBC Sports golf analyst Curt Byrum echoed Azinger's comments.

"All they are going to be talking about in the team rooms is about the players that are there and rallying around everybody that's in that team room and they are not even going to be talking about who's not there," said Byrum

"I think both sides will carry on like that."

This year's Ryder Cup runs from 29 September to 1 October.