Kevin Na won the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge, triggering a conversation about Na potentially representing the United States in team events. Though it’s early in the process, some golf fans were wondering if Kevin Na could play on the US Ryder Cup team in 2020 at Whistling Straits for captain Steve Stricker.
As it turns out, there was a rules change for US player eligibility in 2002 that does allow Kevin Na, as well foreign-born US citizens like him, to play for the American side in the Ryder Cup.
The eligibility rule changed in 2002 to allow US-born players and naturalized US citizens who became American by the time they turned 18 to compete for the American side in the Ryder Cup.
In fact, this isn’t the first time Na has thought about competing in the Ryder Cup. Back in 2011 when he won in his hometown of Las Vegas, Na was also thinking about potentially being on the American team for the Presidents Cup, which pits the US side against the Internationals (everywhere but Europe and the US). Then-commissioner Tim Finchem made it clear Na was eligible to compete on the American team.
“I guess for [PGA Tour] tournaments, naturalized American citizens and whether you’re born here or your parents (determine your country of origin),” he said. “I was still naturalized American citizen, so I was eligible for the Ryder Cup, which I am very happy about.”
Na added, “We go strictly by what your status is, and [Finchem] said, you are eligible for the Ryder Cup team and you will play for the U. S. team. And I was pretty happy to hear that.”
It would stand to reason, then, that Kevin Na would also be eligible to compete for the American Presidents Cup team, as he became a naturalized American citizen before turning 18.