Henrik Stenson is another dishonest player at LIV Golf, but Europe knew he was a risky bet for the Ryder Cup


For a sport that prides itself on values ​​such as honesty, honor and integrity, golf certainly seems overcrowded with people whose word is worth about as much as a sundae of phlegm on a sweltering day. ‘Twas always so, of course, no matter how energetically the PGA Tour marketed everyone as being of admirable character and charitable attitude. Thanks to Greg Norman’s continued abuse of the Clown Prince’s checkbook, at least now less work is needed to identify the game’s most hollow charlatans. Just throw a dart into the LIV Golf range. And don’t feel the need to aim carefully.

Dishonesty and cowardice are two traits common to many players who decamped to LIV Golf. They lie about wanting to join the Saudi-backed team and continually make it worse by refusing to admit they did it for money, cowering behind cod to develop the game (they don’t) or setting their own schedule (they can’t) . It’s a growing list of golfers who once insisted they’d never do exactly what they did whenever the Saudis found the inflection point in their spine, where the money was. prevails over consciousness.


LIV’s latest recruit is the least surprising: Henrik Stenson, whose length of Ryder Cup captaincy compares unfavorably to that of a Kardashian marriage. Hours after Ryder Cup Europe announced his dismissal, Stenson released a statement expressing his disappointment that jumping to the Saudis cost him the job, perhaps forgetting that just four months ago he signed a contract that prohibited him from doing just that.

“It is a shame to witness the significant uncertainty surrounding the Ryder Cup,” Stenson wrote, sounding like an arsonist appalled at the damage caused by the fire he started.

But words, like contracts and character, don’t make sense in the ranks of LIV Golf.

No sensible person in golf can be shocked that Stenson left for LIV, let alone those who picked him for the captaincy. The Ryder Cup Europe coyly explained the decision to strip him of the captaincy as “in light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal situation”. These circumstances aren’t just about the tour Stenson wants to go on.

Almost everyone on the DP World and PGA tours knows that Stenson has been the victim of large-scale embezzlement more than once, so European Ryder Cup bosses must have realized that anyone offering him money would get an audience. They also reportedly assumed that the dollar amount the Saudis were dangling would only increase with his assumption of the captaincy. In the raw currency familiar to the Saudi regime, the Ryder Cup captain’s head is a pretty trophy to hold up. So what might seem like an impressive move for LIV Golf is really just an acknowledgment of Stenson’s financial history.

It was a risk that the Ryder Cup Europe chose to take. This was a common mistake among many organizations and individuals who dealt with LIV players – trusting them, thinking their word was a bond rather than a tactic, assuming their signatures on contracts had value. In case LIV gained ground during Stenson’s tenure as captain, no one was more sensitive to FOMO — the fear of missing out — on the money. In today’s environment, it has always been a risky bet, but one that has fallen apart even faster than Old World policymakers could have imagined.

The extent to which the Ryder Cup will be affected by Stenson’s dismissal is likely less than LIV enthusiasts claim. Last year’s American rout in Wisconsin proved that Europe is caught between generations of talent, so there is little clarity on who the continent will line up with in 14 months in Rome. None of the veterans who signed with LIV – Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell – were strong contenders for a spot on the team. They are all men of yesterday, as surely as Stenson is the skipper of yesterday.

In considering the options for his replacement, Europe should take the opportunity to do without the revolving door that has governed the captaincy for a quarter of a century. Some of Europe’s biggest hits have come from Tony Jacklin and Bernard Gallacher. Jacklin led four straight teams, followed by Gallacher for three. Two men held the captaincy from 1983 until 1997, when Seve Ballesteros took on the role for the game in Spain. This was when Europe’s “Big 5” of the 1980s and 1990s was maturing in management, so the specious idea took hold that even a winning captain had to give way just because it was their turn. from someone else.

Paul McGinley was an excellent captain in 2014, but was replaced in 2016 by Darren Clarke, who was not. Thomas Bjorn led Europe to a decisive win in Paris four years ago but pulled out for Padraig Harrington, whose side were beaten at Whistling Straits last September.

The same phenomenon is evident on the American side. Why should Paul Azinger have given in to Corey Pavin in 2010? Or Davis Love III to Jim Furyk in 2018? Or, frankly, Steve Stricker to Zach Johnson this time? If a winning and popular captain has had enough, that’s good. But if he is willing and able to stay, it should not be assumed that he is out of work just because there are other candidates who feel entitled to a chance.

Hitting a reset button on how Europe picks captains might be the only positive contribution Stenson can claim from his 127-day tenure in the job. Even the Italian governments would be embarrassed to fall so quickly.

The Ryder Cup forged reputations – of loyalty, of love of competition, of character – that instantly withered under LIV’s insidious caress, lost amid a deluge of duplicity and doublespeak. Fall for Stenson like any other. “I am committed to growing the game and using it as a force for good,” he wrote, insisting that the sports washing effort operated and funded by the repressive Saudi regime will be such a positive force for good. If ever a reminder was needed of how easily gullible people can be fooled, Stenson’s statement should be Exhibit ‘A’.

Next week, Stenson will make his LIV debut in a tournament hosted by Donald Trump. It promises to be the Super Bowl for crooks, a gathering of cruelly out of character men, greedily pocketing someone else’s money while pretending it’s in the service of a greater good. They are all very deserving of each other’s company.


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Ryder Cup 2018

Ryder Cup 2018