Luke Donald dismissed the idea he would be playing in the Ryder Cup after taking the early lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the DP World Tour.
Donald only made one bogey at Yas Links on his way to an opening round of 8-under 64.
The Ryder Cup Europe captain has a one-stroke lead over Italy's Guido Migliozzi - who has just signed for TaylorMade - and Australia's Jason Scrivener.
The man who Donald replaced as captain - Henrik Stenson - shot an opening round of 68.
Stenson later told the media he believes LIV Golf players will prevail in next month's court showdown against the DP World Tour.
The Swede insisted he was having fun on his first start on the European-based circuit since being relieved of his Ryder Cup duties.
But for Donald, he doesn't think it was surprising that he went low on day one.
Donald carded five consecutive birdies from No. 6 at the Rolex Series event, carrying a prize purse of $9m.
He told the media:
So, could we potentially see Donald teeing it up at the Marco Simone Golf & Country club in September?
As many as nine LIV Golf players are playing this week.
Lee Westwood, who is playing his 30th season on tour, opened up with a 3-under par 69. Ian Poulter - who says he may now snub the Ryder Cup even if he qualifies - carded an opening 71.
Leaderboard after round one:
L. Donald -8
G. Migliozzi, J. Scrivener -7
S. Power -6
M. Kawamura, S. Sharma, S. Lowry, S. Valimaki, S. Soderberg, E. Molinari, F. Molinari -5
T. Fleetwood -4
Next page: Sir Nick Faldo lands new DP World Tour job