Matt Fitzpatrick would welcome the inclusion of Sergio Garcia in Europe's Ryder Cup team despite the Spaniard switching to the LIV Golf tour.

Europe's preparations for the 2023 tournament in Rome have been badly affected by the sport's ongoing civil war since the inception of the controversial LIV Golf in 2021.

Henrik Stenson was stripped of the Europe captaincy in July after joining the Saudi-funded circuit, while it remains to be seen whether his replacement Luke Donald selects players who made the switch.

As such, Ryder Cup veterans like Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are among those in danger of being ruled ineligible, with the United States ruling out the selection of LIV Golf players.

But U.S. Open champion Fitzpatrick sees no problem in selecting the likes of Garcia – who is Europe's all-time leading points scorer at the Ryder Cup with 28.5 – so long as they do not enter PGA Tour or DP World Tour events.

"It might be some players from other places in the world," Fitzpatrick told Sky Sports News. "I think there definitely are a few personal relationships that have been dented by this. I'm not bothered, I just want to win, and I'm sure those boys do too.

"Sergio would be the one that would stand out for me, particularly. I'm happy to share a room with him, if that's going to be the case. I can corner him off for everyone else.

"It was a tough one because [Stenson] had started gearing up for Rome, making notes and putting plans together. And then it's like, 'sorry, lads, I'm off.'

"As long as you go and don't come back, I don't have an issue. Go take the money, go play wherever you want, I could not care less, just don't come back and then take spots from other guys that want to play.

"I understand that there are the likes of Westy [Westwood], Poulter and Sergio that have played a lot in Europe over the years and have done their bit, and they have. I can't ever knock them for that, they've done way more than I have for the European Tour."

Jon Rahm described Rory McIlroy taking a stand against the LIV Golf Invitational Series while still performing at the highest level as "remarkable" and discussed how joining the breakaway circuit may impact Sergio Garcia's legacy.

McIlroy claimed his third FedEx Cup in August and is hoping to cap a fine year by winning the DP World Tour Championship this week, but his off-course actions have been equally noteworthy.

The world number one has been a vocal critic of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed LIV circuit, and called for the series' divisive chief executive Greg Norman to resign this week.

Speaking ahead of the tournament in Dubai, world number five Rahm hailed McIlroy's efforts to defend the PGA Tour this year. 

"It's great to see somebody with his platform take a stand as he did, whether you agree with it or not, he's taken a stand on what he believes in and that's it - I think it's great," Rahm said.

"He's had a lot of input. He's been on the board of the PGA Tour and tried to make a change.

"To be honest, with how long those meetings are and how much as players we talk to each other, to play as good as he has is pretty remarkable.

"In this profession, we are all basically CEOs of our own little golf company, and now he has invested in so much more. Again, the role he's had in both [on and off the course] is quite incredible."

Rahm's compatriot Garcia became one of the most high-profile players to resign his PGA Tour membership while switching to LIV Golf this year.

The 2021 U.S. Open champion hopes the legacy of his fellow Spaniard is not tarnished by that decision.

"I hope not, it's very unprecedented, what we've been dealing with in the game of golf and it hasn't even been that long," Rahm added.

"It could have somewhat of an impact. I have a hard time believing a lot of those [LIV] players are going to have a positive impact on their legacy right now.

"We don't know what's going to happen, but if it does [have an impact on Garcia's legacy], I hope it's not a big one, let's say it that way.

"He's done a lot for the game of golf, so it would be sad to see that change.

"There's certainly going to be a before and after at some point, and there's definitely some division going on.

"It still shouldn't change what he's done in the game; what he's done in the Ryder Cup, European Tour, PGA Tour, shouldn't be affected by where he decides to play golf, at least in my mind."

Meanwhile, LIV Golf has continued to push for the ability to award world rankings points, and while Rahm is not against that idea, he says the tour must meet the stated requirements.

"We need to stop giving LIV the publicity. They are not asking for it. That's the first thing I'm going to say," Rahm said.

"A lot of people are against them having World Ranking points. I'm not necessarily against it, but there should be adjustments. 

"If your requirement to have World Ranking points is 72 holes and a cut, maybe you don't award them 100 per cent of the points, since they are not fulfilling all the requirements. 

"I also believe it's probably a couple-year process, so they need to respect that as every other tour has. 

"They do have some incredible players. To say that Dustin [Johnson] wasn't one of the best players this year would be a mistake. So, I think they could be awarded. I don't know if they necessarily deserve 100 per cent."

Louis Oosthuizen beat Bryson DeChambeau 1up in 23 holes to secure a spot for Stinger GC in the LIV Golf Championship in Miami on Sunday after a 2-1 team semi-finals win on Saturday.

Saturday's semi-finals were match play, with Sunday's Championship to be stroke play, but Oosthuizen and DeChambeau offered plenty of drama in their singles match at Trump National Doral.

With Stinger and the Crushers tied at 1-1, the pair could not be split until the fifth extra hole, with Oosthuizen having a long-range putt for victory fall short on the 18th hole.

But the South African swooped when DeChambeau's tee shot on the fifth extra hole found the water, with Oosthuizen finishing the job.

"At the end I think the adrenaline took over in the last few holes," the South African said. "It was a great match.

"I don’t know how many birdies we made, but very relieved now. I thought the boys had it covered so when I saw Branden [Grace] lost and I'm like 'oh boy I've got to do something here', so very chuffed."

Grace was beaten by Paul Casey in their singles match, but Charl Schwartzel and Hennie du Plessis had won 2up in the alternate shot against Charles Howell III and Anirban Lahiri.

Dustin Johnson and his 4Aces GC also advanced to Sunday's decider with a 2-1 win over Cleeks GC.

Pat Perez and Talor Gooch held off Graeme McDowell and Richard Bland in extra holes to clinch the winning point.

Cameron Smith's Punch GC knocked off Sergio Garcia's Firebirds GC 2-1, while Brooks Koepka's Smash GC were too good for Majesticks GC 3-0.

Peter Uihlein seized a one-stroke lead to carry into the final round of LIV Golf Jeddah after a seven-under-par 63 in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The American leapfrogged compatriot Brooks Koepka at the top of the leaderboard after an eagle and birdie on his final two holes took him to 12 under.

 

The only blot on his copybook at the Royal Greens Golf Club was a double bogey at the par-four 13th.

Koepka, who led after the first day of competition on Friday, carded a three-under round of 67 to stay in touch.

Two shots further back are South Africa's Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia, with the Spaniard posting a bogey-free 64.

The inaugural individual LIV Golf champion Dustin Johnson stood five shots off the lead after a round of 65.

It was a disappointing day for Henrik Stenson, meanwhile, with the Swede sitting in last place after going round in 75, five over and for the tournament.

Sergio Garcia admits it was "a hard decision" to eschew next year's Ryder Cup, stating he does not feel as if he would be "very welcome" amid the bitter PGA Tour-LIV Golf Invitational Series split.

The Spaniard, a six-time tournament winner, will not represent Team Europe next year at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy after failing to enter his name by last Friday's deadline.

While Team USA-eligible defectors are barred from inclusion following PGA Tour membership suspension, no call has been made on their opponents.

But even if he was to get a sponsor's invite, Garcia says he will not feature next year, acknowledging he is sad to feel ostracised amid the fallout of his defection to the Saudi-backed tour.

"It was a hard decision," he said. "But unfortunately, it doesn't feel like I'm very welcome there, so I don't want to be a bother to anyone.

"I've always said I love the Ryder Cup too much. I obviously would love to keep being a part of it. [But] when I see that so many people are against [me playing], if the team is better without me, I'd rather be out of it.

"There's obviously several guys who feel strongly that way. The [DP World] Tour is of that same thought. So I don't want to be something that might hurt the team.

"Obviously it's sad for me, how much I love the Ryder Cup and everything I've been able to do with Europe. That's the way they want it. I'm just helping out."

Jon Rahm wishes the LIV Golf International Series defectors could play at the Ryder Cup, though he conceded "it does not look good" for the rebels' hopes.

The controversial Saudi-backed breakaway league continues to battle for world ranking points for its defectors, with the LIV Golf players also indefinitely banned from featuring on the PGA Tour.

Those bans mean the United States golfers that defected will not be able to compete at the Ryder Cup in Rome next September, while European players are awaiting a hearing in February on the sanctions.

A positive outcome for the Europeans who play on the LIV Golf circuit would see the DP World Tour unable to sanction the rebels, with Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sam Horsfield hoping to feature in Italy.

While Rahm has opposed the breakaway league, alongside likely Team Europe colleague Rory McIlroy, he expressed his disappointment that the best players may not be present at the Ryder Cup.

"The Ryder Cup is not the PGA Tour and European Tour against LIV – it's Europe versus the US, period," Rahm said.

"The best of each against the other, and for me the Ryder Cup is above all. I wish they could play but it doesn't look good."

Recent reports suggest Sergio Garcia has ruled himself out of Ryder Cup contention regardless of the hearing result.

The Spaniard failed to submit an entry for the Mallorca Open later in the month, meaning he will not meet the appearance requirements to retain his membership.

"It is a complicated situation for Sergio," Rahm added. "I understand he decided not to play because the last time he played a tournament on the European circuit he was not received very well, although I imagine it would be different in Mallorca.

"In any case, there are still days left and you can still sign up."

Rory McIlroy says his relationships with several former Ryder Cup team-mates have strained by their decisions to join the LIV Golf series.

Five members of Europe's team for the 2021 tournament, at which they were well beaten by the United States at Whistling Straits, have joined the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed circuit.

Four of those five – Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Bernd Wiesberger – are part of the field for this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The presence of LIV golfers at the DP World Tour's flagship event has been criticised by some players, with former world number one Jon Rahm and defending BMW PGA champion Billy Horschel both hitting out at their participation. 

McIlroy has been a fierce defender of the PGA Tour amid the divide with LIV Golf, and admits he has grown distant with many of his counterparts on the breakaway circuit. 

"I wouldn't say I've got much of a relationship with them at the minute," McIlroy said of his former Ryder Cup team-mates.

"But, like, I haven't done anything different. They are the ones that have made that decision. I can sit here and keep my head held high and say I haven't done anything differently."

Having declared last month that it would be "hard to stomach" LIV players joining the field at Wentworth, McIlroy was more diplomatic this time around, adding: "They are here. They are playing the golf tournament. 

"My opinion is they shouldn't be here, but again that's just my opinion.

"But we are all going to tee it up on the first tee tomorrow and we are all going to go play 72 holes, which is a novelty for them at this point, and then we'll go from there.

"If you're just talking about Ryder Cup, that's not the future of the Ryder Cup team. They've played in probably a combined 25, 30 Ryder Cups, whatever it is.

"The Hojgaards [brothers Rasmus and Nicolai], Bobby Mac [Robert MacIntyre], whoever else is coming up, they are the future of the Ryder Cup team. That's what we should be thinking about and talking about."

Meanwhile, the DP World Tour's chief executive Keith Pelley has hit out at comments from Westwood and Garcia after the two men claimed the DP World Tour is nothing more than a feeder circuit for the PGA.

Garcia, Europe's record points scorer in the Ryder Cup, recently declared the DP World Tour to be just the fifth best circuit in world golf.

"It's unbelievable," Pelley said. "Let's look at the facts. If the metric determining the top tours in the world is just money, then the number one tour is the PGA Tour, always has been. You could argue that the LIV Invitational Series is number two.

"But The Asian Tour, $22.5m; Korn Ferry Tour; $20m; Japan, $28m; Australia, $5.8m; Sunshine Tour, $7.4m. Totalling all their prize funds together comes to just half of our tour. So even if the only metric is money, how possibly could we ever become number five?

"Is this week a tournament that is on a feeder tour? A tournament that has sold-out crowds, television coverage around the world in 150 countries, five of the top 15 players in the world? A tournament with 150 accredited media?

"Our first co-sanctioned event with the PGA Tour in Scotland, where 14 of the top 15 players played, would that appear on a feeder tour? I could go on and on."

Pelley also defended his decision to remain aligned with the PGA Tour, adding: "LIV Golf and the PGA Tour are involved in a power struggle for our sport.

"It is corporate America versus a sovereign state and a conflict fought out with eye-watering sums of money. I often get the question, why can't we work with both the PGA Tour and the Saudis. We tried.

"But the Saudis remain determined to set up a new series outside of the current ecosystem. That decision has created the conflict we see today, and we chose to partner with the leading tour in the game.

"Some people might not agree with that decision. But it's a decision we feel is the right thing to do for all our members."

Former world number one Jon Rahm has hit out at the prospect of LIV Golf players featuring at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth later this week.

The field for the DP World Tour event, which begins on Thursday, includes 17 players who have made an appearance on the controversial Saudi-backed circuit. 

The likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are all among that group, as the bitter divide between the LIV series and the PGA and European Tours shows no sign of healing.

Quizzed on their presence at the event, former U.S. Open champion Rahm expressed his frustration at big-name LIV golfers taking the places of those who have stayed loyal to the European Tour, claiming they are only appearing to pick up world ranking points.

"What I don't understand is some players that have never shown any interest in the European Tour, that have never shown any interest in playing this event, are being given an opportunity, just because they can get world ranking points, and hopefully make majors next year," the Spaniard said.

Citing the case of close friend Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who has missed out on the field, Rahm added: "It doesn't hurt me, but it does bug me that somebody who has played over – I looked it up – 20 DP World events this year cannot be given the opportunity to play a flagship event.

"Because some people that earned it, to an extent, are being given an opportunity when they couldn't care any less about the event.

"They don't know. They don't care. They don't know the history of this event.

"They are only here because they are trying to get world ranking points and trying to finish in the top 50, and that's clear as day."

But Rahm believes there could yet be a way back for those who have signed for the breakaway tour, adding: "There's only one problem in life that doesn't have a solution, and that's death. 

"Everything else has a solution. If the European Tour really want them to play and as a team we [Ryder Cup Europe] want them to play, I think a solution can be reached."

Defending BMW PGA Championship champion Billy Horschel was similarly scathing of the LIV rebels, declaring: "Even though Westwood and Poulter have been stalwarts for the European Tour, I don't think those guys really should be here."

Taking aim at those who have missed the event in the past, he added: "You've never played this tournament, you've never supported the DP World Tour.

"Why are you here? You are here for one reason only, and that's to try to get world ranking points because you don't have it [on the LIV Tour].

"It's hypocritical because some of these guys said they wanted to play less golf. It's pretty hypocritical to come over here and play outside LIV when your big thing was to spend more time with family and want to play less golf."

Sergio Garcia is adamant LIV Golf "is the future" for the sport as the PGA Tour fights to keep its stars out of the clutches of the lucrative Saudi-backed circuit.

It remains to be seen whether players signed up to the new series are kissing goodbye to playing the majors, which would be diminished by the absence of stars such as Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and new defector Cameron Smith.

The PGA Tour has banned those players from its events for now, though they are still allowed to participate on the DP World Tour – previously known as the European Tour – whose sanctions have been put on hold until a hearing is heard early next year.

Ahead of this weekend's Boston leg of LIV Golf, Garcia told Stats Perform he had no regrets about committing to the controversial series, with the 42-year-old having been one of the first to sign up.

"Yeah, I love it. I think it's great. I think it's getting more and more momentum," the Spaniard said.

"I think that everyone is really enjoying the format and the way we're playing. We all believe that is the future of golf, keeping it fresher, even quicker and all the things that people are asking for. We're very excited about it."

There is a team element as well as individual honours at stake, while each event has so far been contested over 54 holes, rather than 72 as has long been the custom in the men's game. Players are joining on huge signing-on fees, while the level of tournament prize money is also proving appealing.

Saudi Arabia's often-criticised human rights record has led to accusations that LIV Golf is an attempt at 'sportswashing', looking to improve the reputation of a country by investing heavily in a glitzy event featuring widely admired international stars.

Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion, insists he has no problem with where the money behind the series originates.

"I think that a lot of people make business with Saudi Arabia and the government is fine. So there's nothing to do there," Garcia said.

"LIV Golf is international  Even this year, with just eight tournaments, we're playing some abroad. Next year coming up, there's going to be a lot more tournaments worldwide. So it definitely is [international]."

Paul Casey, an Englishman who won three PGA Tour titles and added 15 tournament wins on the European Tour, is another who has accepted a big cheque to join LIV Golf.

"I saw the first two events before my first event at Bedminster," Casey said.

He told Stats Perform he was impressed by "the energy", "the youngness of the crowd" and the "passion and excitement for everybody involved".

"This is like a start-up. This is something different," Casey said.

The likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have insisted they will not be swayed by the huge sums on offer by LIV Golf, standing steadfastly by the PGA Tour and insisting it is that established circuit that is committed to golf's best interests.

McIlroy, who has played on Ryder Cup teams with Garcia and Casey, spoke recently of his opposition to LIV Golf, saying: "I hate what it's doing to the game of golf."

LIV is pumping enormous funds into the Asian Tour, too, with a host of LIV Golf players set to take part in that circuit's International Series.

Casey said: "A lot is always talked about growth of the game and stuff, and that is still an area where there is massive potential. There's been great growth in the game all over, but there's massive potential on the international front and I think the guys who are out here understand that and they're embracing it, and we'll see.

"I mean, I've always enjoyed playing international golf and enjoy playing golf certainly in Asia. And I'm looking forward to being in Bangkok, in Jeddah.

"There's rumours about maybe Australia or something like that as well coming back for us. So that's going to be pretty cool."

Bryson DeChambeau says he is "not worried" about the PGA Tour's decision to indefinitely ban players who have defected to the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The sport is embroiled in a battle between the PGA Tour and the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf, with 2020 US Open champion DeChambeau one of those who has chosen to break away.

Henrik Stenson also chose to defect and was subsequently stripped of Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy before he won the third LIV event in New Jersey last week, while other players such as Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia have joined too.

It has since been reported that Tiger Woods was offered up to $800million to join LIV Golf, though he chose to reject the money in order to stay with the PGA Tour.

The Wall Street Journal have reported that Mickelson and DeChambeau, as well as a number of other defectors, are planning to sue the PGA Tour over their suspensions.

But DeChambeau was not concerned about this development and was instead enthused by what LIV Golf could do for players financially, telling Fox News: "It doesn't make sense [the ban].

"I'm not worried about that. I think it will get figured out. I personally know that it will get figured out, whether it's legally or whether they come to the table and work out terms. I definitely think it will all wash itself out in the future, pretty shortly.

"Any time anyone invests over a billion dollars into the game of golf, how is that not going to grow the game and how is that not going to provide more opportunities?

"This is our livelihoods and it was a great economic opportunity for golfers to make a lot of money. That's why we grew up playing golf - also for the history, to go and win majors, PGA Tour events and now I want to win LIV events.

"You can see the passion and competitive aspect of this environment out here and we all want to win every single week."

Sergio Garcia has revealed he will "hold off" on quitting the DP World Tour, claiming he remains hopeful he can feature at the Ryder Cup despite signing up to feature in the LIV Golf series.

Garcia is one of several big names to join Greg Norman's controversial breakaway tour in recent months, and declared earlier in July he was "quite clear" on his intention to quit the European circuit. 

At this month's Open, the 2017 Masters champion also said he had all but given up on another Ryder Cup appearance after claiming he was "not wanted" on the European tour. 

Last week, Europe's 2023 Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role after signing up to the LIV circuit, while both the PGA and DP World Tours have looked to sanction players joining the series.

But Garcia has gone back on his earlier pledge, and says he will wait for clarification on his chances of Ryder Cup participation before making any decision on his future.

"When I finished the Open Championship [last] Sunday, I said that I was most likely going to resign my membership from the [DP World] Tour," Garcia told ESPN. "That obviously meant not being eligible for the Ryder Cup because you have to be a member.

"[But] I had a couple of good conversations with guys on the [DP World] Tour, I'm going to hold off on that.

"I want to at least see what's happening when Ryder Cup qualification starts. See what kind of rules and eligibilities they have in there. If I agree with what they [are], I'll definitely keep playing whatever I can on the tour and try to qualify for that Ryder Cup team.

"And if not, then we'll move on. But it is definitely something that is in my mind.

"I told Keith Pelley [chief executive of the DP World Tour]: 'I want to keep being a member of the DP World Tour. I want to play my minimum, still support the tour, still have my eligibilities to make Ryder Cup teams.

"He said: 'That's great, but we've got to do what's best for us'. We'll see what that is."

However, Garcia did express sympathy for Stenson, describing the Swede's Ryder Cup ousting as "sad".

"Now it's gotten a little bit sadder with fines and bans," Garcia added. "What they did to Henrik. It's a little bit sad."

Garcia finished 24th in LIV Golf's first event in London at the start of June before posting a 26th-placed finish in Portland in early July. 

Sergio Garcia announced he will resign from the DP World Tour and abandon hope of another Ryder Cup appearance, as he completed what is likely to be his last appearance in a St Andrews-staged Open Championship.

The bombshell announcement came after his final round of the major at the 'home of golf', with Garcia underlining his commitment to the controversial, Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

It remains to be seen whether those on that circuit will be able to play in future majors, but Garcia told Spanish media he is giving up on the idea of playing tournaments on the DP World Tour, which was previously known as the European Tour.

It would leave him sidelined for future editions of the Ryder Cup, the contest between Europe and the United States in which he is the record points-scorer.

"I am quite clear about what I am going to do with the European circuit. Probably leave it," Garcia said, quoted by AS. "Honestly, I want to play where they want me and right now I don't feel wanted on the European Tour."

He reacted angrily to Thomas Bjorn's criticism of the players who have signed up for the lucrative LIV Golf series, saying he did not need to accept "nonsense like that".

"I have what I have and I will try to enjoy it. I'll play less, I'll be at home more, if I don't play majors then I don't play them... I don't care much either," Garcia said.

"I feel a little sorry for the Ryder [Cup], but playing the way I'm playing I'm not going to play the Ryder. We will enjoy what we have, we will play where they want us. I haven't officially communicated anything yet, but I'm going to do it."

The 42-year-old Spaniard, who won the 2017 Masters, is sorry he never had the chance to play with his great compatriot Seve Ballesteros at St Andrews, and said there would be "a little bit of disappointment" if he never wins the tournament.

Garcia has twice been an Open runner-up, losing in a play-off to Padraig Harrington in 2007 at Carnoustie, then finishing two shots behind Rory McIlroy in 2014 at Royal Liverpool.

He made his Open debut as a 16-year-old amateur in 1996 and has not been in the mix this week, with a second round of 66 only serving to repair the damage from a 75 on Thursday.

Asked if there would be a sense of regret if he was sidelined from future Opens and never lifted the Claret Jug, Garcia said on Sunday: "I wouldn't say regret. Obviously a little bit of disappointment because I've been close and I love this championship and these crowds very much. Sometimes you don't get what you want or what you wish."

Looking at St Andrews in particular, Garcia said the Open's next return to the Scottish links, likely to come in 2030, might be too far off into the future for him to return.

"I don't know, when is the next one here? 2030. Yeah, probably tough," he said. "And the way everyone is reacting to us [the LIV Golf players], probably even tougher. It is what it is. Things come to an end."

Garcia, who has had two top-10 finishes in Open Championships at St Andrews, spoke of his memories of the course.

"I have some good ones, obviously. Unfortunately I never got to play with Seve here," he said. "That would have been fun."

The golf from Garcia this week was not good enough to contend, with a closing 73 seeing him finish on two-under par.

Asked how he had enjoyed competing on the Fife coast, Garcia said: "Not very much. I enjoyed the crowd, but that was about it."

Mexico's Carlos Ortiz is the outright leader after the first round at LIV Golf Portland, finishing five under after his first trip around Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

He was on track for a bigger lead than the one stroke buffer he holds, with three birdies from his first four holes after beginning his shotgun start on the ninth tee, before back-to-back bogeys brought him back to the field.

Ortiz finished his round with three birdies on his final five holes, re-taking the lead in the final stages of play.

Dustin Johnson is just one stroke back in outright second place at four under, bogeying his first hole of the day as he started on the 18th, but it would be his only blemish, collecting five birdies and 12 pars the rest of the way.

Rounding out the top-five is Pat Perez, Hideto Tanihara, Wade Ormsby and Branden Grace in a tie for third at three under.

Playing in his first LIV Golf event, Brooks Koepka put in a good showing as one of 13 players to finish under par, tied for seventh along with Hennie du Plessis after their two-under 70s.

Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Scott Vincent and Yuki Inamori are tied for ninth at one under, while big names Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau headline the group at even par.

Koepka's brother Chase Koepka is at one over along with Mexico's Abraham Ancer, winner of LIV Golf's debut event Charl Schwartzel is at two over with Ian Poulter, and Phil Mickelson finished at three over with Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na.

Adam Hadwin ended Thursday as the outright leader following the opening round of the U.S. Open in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The Canadian shot a four-under-par round of 66, one ahead of five players tied for second, including Rory McIlroy, who had been four under himself before bogeying his final hole on the ninth.

Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth, Joel Dahmen and M.J. Daffue sit alongside McIlroy, with seven more players on two under, including Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson.

It was otherwise not a great day for some of the LIV Golf International Series participants, with Phil Mickelson carding an opening round of 78 (seven over), while Louis Oosthuizen managed just one shot better and Sergio Garcia finished on four over.

LIV Golf's new additions Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau ended even par and one over respectively. 

World number one Scottie Scheffler recovered from a wobbly start to finish on even par, while PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas ended the day one under, as did the man he beat in a playoff for that trophy, Will Zalatoris.

Defending champion Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Adam Scott also shot one-under rounds of 69, while world number four Patrick Cantlay came away from Thursday two over.

Shot of the day

After ending up just off the green in the longer grass on the 12th, a precision chip from Matt Fitzpatrick still had a significant distance to travel, but slowly rolled its way straight into the hole to the delight of the Englishman and the Brookline crowd, sending him back to two-under straight after bogeying the 11th.

Player of the day - Adam Hadwin

Hadwin sat on one over after three holes, before birdieing five of the next six to catapult himself into the leading pack. The 34-year-old has never finished higher than T39th in this tournament, and also responded to a bogey at 12 with another immediate birdie at 13, and then ended with five tidy pars to head into day two as the outright leader.

Chipping in

Rory McIlroy: "I'm going into tomorrow with the mindset of 'let's keep it going', rather than 'where is the cut line' or whatever. If you don't get off to a great start, those thoughts start to creep in, 'okay, what do I need to just be here for the weekend?'"

Jon Rahm (asked about two children stealing his ball on the 18th hole): "Yes… I'm pretty sure I know who it was. I recognised the two kids that were running the opposite way with a smile on their face. (Laughing) I am 100 per cent sure I saw the two kids that stole it."

A little birdie told me...

- McIlroy's 67 was the 13th of his career at the U.S. Open, now level with Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia for most by a European player at the tournament.

- Lingmerth, ranked 592nd in the world, has never finished worse than tied for 21st in three previous U.S. Open appearances, and the Swede started with a promising 67 here.

- The first round scoring average of the last 10 winners at the U.S. Open is 69.1, with 25 players hitting under that on Thursday.

Jon Rahm says he is unsurprised by the amount of big-name golfers participating in the LIV Golf series given the financial rewards on offer, but sees more "meaning" in competing for historic prizes on the PGA Tour.

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, which held its first event in London last weekend with victor Charl Schwartzel pocketing $4.75million as the inaugural winner, has attracted several the game's biggest names by offering eye-watering prize sums.

The likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia are among those to have signed up to the new circuit, with players participating in the first LIV event having been suspended by the PGA Tour last week.

Other stars, including Rory McIlroy, have made their opposition to the new tour clear, with the four-time major winner claiming on Tuesday it will "fracture" the sport.

And while world number two Rahm respects other players' decisions to feature in the breakaway competition, he simply does not see the appeal.

Speaking ahead of the U.S. Open, defending champion Rahm explained that he sees more "meaning" in competing with the world's best players in historic competitions on the PGA Tour.

"I mean, hundreds of millions of dollars are a pretty good damn reason for people to decide and go, and I see a lot of comments that's regarding it, but the high majority of the population, if they offered you 100 million or more for the next four years, a lot of people would go, right?" he said. 

"I'm not surprised at the number of players that went. I do see the appeal that other people see towards LIV Golf.

"[But] to be honest, part of the format is not really appealing to me. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that's been going on for hundreds of years. 

"There's meaning when you win the Memorial Championship. There's meaning when you win Arnold Palmer's event at Bay Hill. There's a meaning when you win, [at] LA, Torrey, some of the historic venues. That to me matters a lot.

"My heart is with the PGA Tour. That's all I can say. It's not my business or my character to judge anybody who thinks otherwise."

Rahm also added that the financial rewards on offer on the new tour – headed up by chief executive Greg Norman – would not change his mind.

"Truth be told, I could retire right now with what I've made and live a very happy life and not play golf again," the 27-year-old said. 

"I've never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons. I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. I've always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA Tour has that."

Rahm's compatriot Garcia, meanwhile, joined Johnson in resigning his membership of the PGA Tour last month.

While Rahm says Garcia's decision is none of his concern, he hopes the split will not impact players' chances of competing at the Ryder Cup.

"[It's] not my business," he added. "He has given golf, [the] European Tour and the PGA Tour 20, 25 years of his life. It's his decision. It's not my job to judge. 

"That's all I can say. I don't know what's going to happen. I think the one thing that keeps coming to me out of all this and what can happen… I hope the Ryder Cup doesn't suffer.

"Are they going to be able to play Ryder Cup or not, the players that went? In my mind, Sergio, even if he is not breaking 90, he's a no-brainer pick, right? So what's going to happen? 

"You have quite a few young Americans. Bryson went, somebody that's probably going to be on the team in the future. 

"I think a week like that is a true essence of the game. That's where we all love to play."

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