(Reuters) - The Ryder Cup should feature the best players and it should not matter whether some have decided to join LIV Golf, Jon Rahm said as he expressed sadness that Spanish compatriot Sergio Garcia would be absent from this year's competition.
Garcia is Europe's all-time record points scorer and went undefeated in the three matches he played with Rahm at the 2021 edition of the biennial event where the United States rolled to an emphatic victory at Whistling Straits.
He is ineligible for the event this year, however, after resigning from the European Tour to join the Saudi-funded LIV.
"I'm going to miss him. We had a great partnership at Whistling Straits," world number two Rahm said at Muirfield Village Golf Club ahead of this week's Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.
"I'm going to mention history again one more time. A Spanish duo in the Ryder Cup I think to me is embedded into the roots of the Ryder Cup. Look what Seve (Ballesteros) and (Jose Maria Olazabal) 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."
Garcia's resignation came a month after the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, won its legal battle to be able to suspend and fine players who featured in conflicting LIV Golf events without permission.
The 2017 Masters champion also said that before he announced his resignation he had reached out to European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald to see where he stood with regards to making the team and was told he had "no chance".
But if reigning Masters champion Rahm could have his way, Garcia would be at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome for the Sept. 29-Oct. 1 Ryder Cup.
"Again, it's the best Europeans against the best Americans, period. And whatever is going on, who is playing LIV and who is not playing LIV to me shouldn't matter," said Rahm.
"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."
As it stands, four Spaniards sit inside the top 10 on the European Points List in Rahm (first), Adrian Otaegui (sixth), Jorge Campillo (eighth) and Pablo Larrazabal (ninth).
While Garcia will not be in the mix, Rahm is hopeful he will not be the only Spaniard on Luke Donald's 12-man team in Rome.
"It's unfortunate. I will miss him," Rahm said of Garcia.
"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."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)