GOLF

Henrik Stenson steps down as Ryder Cup captain after joining LIV Golf

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Henrik Stenson will no longer be the European captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome, with the Swedish golfer announcing on Wednesday that he will join LIV Golf.

In a report posted on Twitter On Wednesday, Stenson wrote that officials at LIV Golf had worked with him to ensure he could fulfill his Ryder Cup obligations, but Ryder Cup Europe was unwilling to allow him to do so.

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“While I disagree with this decision, at this time it is a decision I accept,” Stenson wrote. “I have enormous respect and admiration for The Ryder Cup and those who support it are doing everything possible to act in the best interests of this historic event.”

Ryder Cup Europe said in a statement on Wednesday that Stenson would not be its captain next year.

“In light of the decisions Henrik has made in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfill certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe to which he committed prior to his announcement as captain on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, and therefore it is not possible for him to continue in the role of captain,” the statement read.

The Ryder Cup Europe has announced that a new captain will be appointed “in due course”. England’s Luke Donald, Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn could be in the running to replace Stenson as captain.

Stenson, 46, informed DP World Tour officials on Tuesday evening of his decision to join LIV Golf. Like other players who left established tours for LIV Golf, Stenson said he hopes to play on multiple tours in the future.

“It’s a shame to witness the significant uncertainty surrounding the Ryder Cup, who will be eligible to play etc,” Stenson wrote. “I sincerely hope that a resolution between the Tours and its members can be quickly reached and that the Ryder Cup can serve as a redress mechanism between the various golf bodies and their members.”

A handful of PGA Tour players told ESPN at the Open in St. Andrews, Scotland last week that Stenson was willing to give up his Ryder Cup captaincy to sign a multi-year contract with LIV Golf. which could be worth up to $40 million.

When Stenson was selected as Ryder Cup captain, he signed a contract that prohibited him from playing on any tour other than the DP World Tour and PGA Tour.

One of Stenson’s main sponsors, Mutual of Omaha, whose logo has been featured on the front of Stenson’s hat at tournaments, has already taken action with the former Tour player joining LIV.

A company spokesperson said Mutual of Omaha and Stenson have mutually agreed to end their sponsorship deal, effective immediately. Boss, Stenson’s other high-profile sponsor, did not return a message about the future of their relationship.

Stenson and England’s Paul Casey are set to make their debuts at the upcoming LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey from July 29 to July 31. LIV Golf announced much of the course on Tuesday, and longtime PGA Tour players Jason Kokrak and Charles Howell III also joined LIV Golf on Wednesday.

Stenson’s departure is another blow to the European Ryder Cup team, which has already had many of its most notable players, including Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, missing out on the tour. of the LIV Golf breakaway.

Stenson, who is ranked 171st in the Official World Golf Rankings, won the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon with a record 264 major championship points over 72 holes. Stenson’s six PGA Tour victories include the 2009 Players Championship and the 2013 Tour Championship. His most recent PGA Tour win was the 2017 Wyndham Championship.

“Henrik Stenson adds another outstanding resume to LIV Golf’s global roster of elite players,” LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said in a statement. “His professional performances spanning major tournaments, individual championships throughout the season and international competitions have cemented him as a leader in today’s game.”

When Stenson was asked at The Open what his next schedule would include, he said he was “undecided”. He spoke of the recognition of the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, located about an hour from Rome. It will host the Ryder Cup from September 25 to October 1, 2023.

ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren contributed to this report.

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