Billy Foster has been embedded within the European Ryder Cup team for almost four decades.
He has caddied for the late, great Seve Ballesteros. He looped for Northern Irishman Darren Clarke for a decade and for Englishman Lee Westwood for a few years as well.
Now, Foster caddies for 2022 U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, who will play for the European Ryder Cup team next week at Marco Simone in Rome.
Foster knows all about what it takes to win the biennal competition, so he did not hold back when discussing who should captain Team Europe in future Ryder Cups.
“What [Westwood, Ian Poulter, and Sergio Garcia] bring to that locker room is immense, and I wouldn’t have banned them because they should be the next three Ryder Cup captains—and are they going to be that now? Probably not, which is a shame because what they’ve done in the Ryder Cup is now tarnished for doing what was right for them,” Foster said to the English outlet Bunkered.
“Let’s face it, you can’t blame them for playing less golf for more money.”
As Fitzpatrick held off Will Zalatoris at the Country Club at Brookline, Westwood, Poulter, and Garcia joined LIV Golf.
Their affiliation with the Saudi-backed circuit led the DP World Tour to suspend each of these players, and consequently, bar them from Ryder Cup competition.
That includes any role as Captain in the future, at least for the time being.
“Everybody has opinions, but would they gel in the locker room with the new breed of players?” Foster added.
“I don’t know, but certainly from a personal point of view, I’d love to see them still be involved and I’d love to see them be the next three captains.”
The DP World Tour originally selected 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson to lead the Europeans in Rome. But he also defected to LIV Golf, so Stenson was stripped of this honor. Luke Donald took the reins instead.
“The last Ryder Cup was the changing of an era,” Foster added.
“The [DP World] Tour is not in great shape at the moment and it could be years before we get another dominant European team. We’ve got a handful of strong European players, but as far as a depth of 12 players, it’s not what it was. They’re losing some immense player—Westwood, Poulter, Garcia, Stenson, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald—and these shoes have to be filled.”
The 2021 Ryder Cup marked Europe’s biggest loss in the competition since 1979, when players from the entire continent could play in the matches—not just those from the British Isles.
That marked a turning point in Ryder Cup history, as Europe has won the majority of the time since.
But Foster fears of another turning point this year—in that those who defected to LIV will hurt Europe’s chances going forward.
Perhaps that changes with the pending agreement between the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), PGA Tour, and DP World Tour, but for this year’s tournament in Rome, the only LIV golfer in attendance will be Brooks Koepka.
“The Americans are so strong from one to 12 and the next couple of Ryder Cups will be difficult,” Foster added. “But it’s a home game and the crowd will be behind them, some players might find form, some will be off it, they might get some young guys coming through, but maybe it’s a bit too soon.”