LIV Golf defector cites Ryder Cup snub as primary reason for ditching PGA Tour

LIV Golf defector cites Ryder Cup snub as primary reason for ditching PGA Tour

Adrian Meronk won the Seve Ballesteros Award for his superb play across the DP World Tour in 2022-23, and yet, Captain Luke Donald overlooked him for the European Ryder Cup team.

Understandably, Meronk was crushed, so much so that he decided to join LIV Golf in January 2024.

‌“I don’t know, but I would probably not have come to LIV if I had played in the Ryder Cup,” Meronk said to James Corrigan of Telegraph Sport.

“What happened definitely made my choice easier. What I went through made it easier to care more about myself and not care what other people think of me or what other people want me to do.”

Immediately after Donald unveiled his squad, Meronk admitted feeling “shocked” and “angry” ahead of last year’s Irish Open.

“To be honest, when [Donald] said I’m not going, I kind of stopped listening,” Meronk said on Sept. 6, 2023.

Adrian Meronk, LIV Golf

Adrian Meronk warms up on the range ahead of his LIV Gold debut in Mayakoba.
Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

“I just didn’t listen much, to be honest. He was saying that someone had to stay home. It was close, obviously, and stuff like that. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to be in his position. I knew it was tough for him. But yeah, it was a big shock, and I didn’t really focus after that.”

Indeed, Meronk focused on his golf game immediately after that. He went on to win the Andalucía Masters in October, proving doubters that he belonged among Europe’s elite tier.

The 30-year-old Pole continued to play well when the calendar flipped from 2023 to 2024, as he had a strong showing in Australia in December and played well in Dubai in January. He tied for 10th at the Dubai Invitational and then finished solo second to Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Then, he spurned the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour—where he earned his 2024 card—for LIV Golf.

‌“What happened with the Ryder Cup just opened my eyes as to how everything works,” Meronk said.

“Especially when you are a professional athlete, it is not your whole life. You have to make sure that your family is good and that you are good and feeling good.”

Adrian Meronk, DP World Tour, Andalucía Masters

Adrian Meronk celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2023 Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.
Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Despite the success that surrounded Meronk throughout 2023, he often felt empty, as he admitted to not enjoying life as a professional golfer.

“People will say this move is all about the money, but what is just as important is the lighter schedule,” Meronk said.

‌“The last two years, I had really great years, but to be honest, I wasn’t enjoying it as much. I was just constantly on the road. We didn’t have a proper home, just packing from hotel to hotel, airport to airport.”

Meronk crisscrossed the world in 2023, playing in Dubai, Southern California, Florida, Korea, Italy, Rochester, and Holland—all before the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club.

‌“I was sitting with my parents and my girlfriend during Christmas, and I was just saying, ‘Yeah, I had a great year, but I didn’t really enjoy it,’” Meronk reflected.

“I remember when I won in Italy last May, waking up on the Monday, and saying, ‘Okay, great, I won the tournament. But now I have to start all over again, go to a new course, and get my routine going again. Where is the joy?’”

Now, Meronk faces a more manageable schedule with LIV Golf.

After the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in mid-January, Meronk made his LIV debut last week in Mayakoba, Mexico, where he finished at 5-over overall, putting him in 47th.

Adrian Meronk, DP World Tour, Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Adrian Meronk signs autographs after the final round of the 2024 Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

LIV Golf is in Las Vegas this week, competing alongside the Super Bowl. After this event, the circuit will take a hiatus before heading to Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong in early March.

That should give Meronk plenty of time to rest, recuperate, and practice.

Despite this, the 30-year-old has not lost sight of his ultimate goal: representing Europe at Bethpage Black in 2025.

“Obviously, I didn’t like how I was treated last time, but if it’s possible to play in the Ryder Cup and if I’m good enough, I would love to be on the team,” Meronk said.

“I will just work hard on my game, perform at my best and see what can happen.”

Who knows what the European Ryder Cup team will look like in 2025. Perhaps professional golf will be united then. Perhaps not.

Either way, Meronk still carries the burden of being snubbed this past fall, as evidenced by his decision to join LIV.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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