ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — LIV Golf’s controversial tour has hit golf with another explosive development just hours after Cameron Smith was crowned British Open champion on Sunday night.
The Greg Norman-led and Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour that rocked the PGA Tour and DP World Tour has now officially touched the beloved Ryder Cup.
According to Swedish newspaper Expressen, European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson is set to join LIV Golf.
If the 46-year-old Swede, who missed the open cut Friday at St. Andrews, does indeed join LIV, it is believed he would be immediately stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy.
The 2023 Ryder Cup will be played at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from September 25 to October 1, 2023.
Stenson, the 2016 Open champion who enjoyed an impressive Ryder Cup career, helping Europe win three of his five appearances as a player, said on his appointment: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be the European Ryder Cup captain. . It is a huge honor and I was honored to receive the call confirming the news. I will do everything in my power and spare no effort in my quest to return the Ryder Cup to European hands.
“The Ryder Cup is golf and sport at its best. I get goosebumps every time I put on a European jersey as a player and that will be amplified in the role of captain. When I started out as a professional golfer, it was beyond my wildest dreams that one day I would follow in the footsteps of game legends such as Seve [Ballesteros] and be the European Ryder Cup captain. But today proves that sometimes dreams come true.
That dream appears to be about to die as Stenson chooses Saudi money over inheritance.
Stenson told reporters after missing Friday’s break that his schedule for the rest of the year was “undecided.”
Stenson, who was named captain in March, could be replaced by Luke Donald, who appears to be next in line. Stenson had previously named Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari as two of his assistants.
USA captain Zach Johnson has already said that no LIV player will be able to play a role in next year’s game.
If Stenson were to go to LIV, he would join a number of other European Ryder Cup stalwarts who have made the move, including Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell, all of whom would have been strong. contenders for the captaincy in the years to come.
Speaking of Garcia, the 42-year-old Spaniard left after what could have been his last round of the British Open at St. Andrews on Sunday.
Garcia told Spanish reporters after his tour that he planned to quit the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, because he “didn’t feel loved”.
Garcia, who finished 2-under for the week at the Open, resigning from the DP World Tour will make him ineligible for the Ryder Cup, despite being the all-time leading points scorer.
“I’m pretty clear what I’m going to do with the European Tour – probably leave it,” Garcia said. “Honestly I want to play where they love me. I like to feel loved and honestly in the European Tour I don’t feel loved anymore. I have what I have and I’m very happy with it and I want to make the most of it. I will play less, I will be more at home.
“If I don’t play big [events, like majors and Ryder Cups]so I don’t play them, but honestly I don’t care either.”
Garcia said, “There are comments that don’t make you feel good,” referring to the PGA Tour and DP World Tour denouncing LIV Golf.
“I have dedicated more than half of my life to the European Tour and I think because you make a personal and professional decision and you look for once for yourself, they treat you like that, it’s not worth it not worth it,” he said. “There are things that can be done differently. What they are doing is a shame because the European Tour will become the fifth [best] in the world.”
LIV Golf players have been treated like crap this week. Not a single player involved in LIV was invited into the media room for a pre-tournament press conference by the R&A. Norman, a two-time Open champion, was essentially banned from coming to St. Andrews to take part in Tuesday night’s Champions Dinner or Monday’s exhibition involving former champions.
Phil Mickelson was asked by the R&A not to attend either, which he obliged, despite playing in the tournament.
Anyone watching TV coverage could notice that LIV players were barely shown on the shows.
Cameron Smith, who won the Open on Sunday, was rumored to be considering a move to LIV and was asked about it during his victory press conference.
“I just won the British Open, and you’re asking about it,” he said. “I think it’s not very good. I don’t know, mate. My team around me is worried about all this. I’m here to win golf tournaments.