Henrik Stenson stripped of Ryder Cup captaincy as LIV rumors swirl | Golf news


Henrik Stenson was stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy on Wednesday, and the Swede was poised to join the Saudi-funded rebel LIV Golf series. After talks with Ryder Cup Europe officials, it was decided to effectively sack the 46-year-old as skipper of the team for next year’s event in Italy. The move will deepen the chasms in the sport, with a growing number of big stars spilling over to the cash-rich new circuit in spite of the established tours.

Ryder Cup Europe said in a statement that Stenson’s tenure as skipper for the biannual competition against the United States in Rome has ended “with immediate effect”.

“In light of the decisions Henrik has made regarding his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfill certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe,” said the spokesman.

The statement added that confirmation of a new captaincy for the 2023 tournament would be made “in due course”. Stenson is reportedly about to jump ship to the LIV series along with other Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia.

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The US team looks likely to run out of players of the caliber of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau next year, all of whom have been indefinitely suspended from the PGA Tour and therefore ineligible to play.

Stenson, the 2016 British Open champion, reached a career high of number two in the world, but has since fallen to 171 in the rankings.

His appointment as skipper of Team Europe in March seemed to put an end to speculation about his involvement in the Saudi-backed breakout series as he insisted he was fully committed to the role.

But after missing the cut at last week’s British Open, Stenson admitted his upcoming schedule was “undecided”.

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His anticipated spillover into the LIV series will be another headache for the existing tours, which were powerless to prevent big names like Phil Mickelson and Johnson from joining the Rebel circuit.

European players must be members of the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, to qualify for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup.

Last month’s tour banned members who played in England’s inaugural LIV event from three tournaments and slapped them with a heavy fine.

Trump plea
Donald Trump on Monday urged golfers to “take the money” and sign with LIV Golf. The former US president, who will host LIV events at two of his golf courses this year, said in a post on his Truth Social network that players should not hesitate to leave the US PGA Tour, which he called “disloyal.” LIV Golf, led by Australian great Greg Norman, is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

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Human rights groups have criticized the venture, saying it is being used to boost Saudi Arabia’s international reputation, a phenomenon dubbed “sports washing.”

The third 54-hole LIV event of the season will tee off on July 29 at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, New Jersey. The field for the tournament consists of former number three in the world, Paul Casey, from England, who is next to 10 major champions.


Former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has been linked with a move to LIV Golf, with three more signings to be named in the coming days. Europe will aim to win the Ryder Cup back from the United States when the two teams meet at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club from September 29 next year.

Potential replacement captains include Thomas Bjorn, who led Europe to victory over France in 2018, and England’s Luke Donald.

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