Banning players for joining the Saudi Golf League would mean the “death of the Ryder Cup”, according to former European captain Tony Jacklin.
Some of the biggest names in the game have reportedly been offered vast sums to join the breakaway circuit, including Ryder Cup stalwarts such as Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.
However, any player who joins the new league faces the prospect of a lifetime ban from the biennial clash, as well as the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.
Jacklin, who led Europe on four occasions, claimed that would lead to the event becoming an “exhibition match”.
He claimed that if the top players were stopped from playing, it would mean the end for the tournament.
“One of the things that hasn’t been said is how the outcome of the Ryder Cup moves forward in the shadow of this,” the two-time major winner said in an interview with Boylesports.
“If people are going to be blacklisted from a Ryder Cup for playing in the Saudi Series, it is going to spell the sad death of the Ryder Cup.
“We’ve always had the 12 best from Europe and America, and let me tell you as a four-time captain, for the tournament to maintain its status as the pinnacle of golf, you need the best of the best taking part and available.
“It’s a serious deal and all of a sudden if certain top players aren’t there who deserve to be there on ability, it would be tantamount to a glorified exhibition match. Nobody wants that.
“We have had so much emotion, nail-biting finishes and tears shed over the past decades, it would be a shame to see that end on a point of stubbornness.
“You cannot invent the passion which comes with the Ryder Cup, and all the emotion that goes into it. Once you start leaving people off a team due to alterior factors, you are going to lose that truth and the heart of the sport’s best competition.”