Henrik Stenson ‘Obviously Disappointed’ with Ryder Cup Decision but Moving Forward with LIV Golf
Stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy, Henrik Stenson was keen Thursday to focus on the next phase of his career – as a member of LIV Golf.
Speaking to the media at Trump Bedminster, where he’ll make his debut as a member of the rival tour, Stenson said that he remained disappointed by Ryder Cup Europe’s decision but was ready to move forward.
“I made every arrangement possible here to be able to fulfill my captain’s duties, and I’ve had great help here from LIV to be able to do that,” Stenson told reporters. “And still, the decision was made that I was to be removed. I’m obviously disappointed over the situation. But it is what it is, and yeah, we move on from there now.”
Despite being linked to LIV Golf for months, Stenson decided in March to go all-in with the European Ryder Cup captaincy. LIV kicked off its inaugural season last month, and reports soon surfaced that Stenson, 46, was set to sign with the upstart league.
Stenson declined to say Thursday whether he’d signed a contact with Ryder Cup Europe that prevented him from accepting a deal with LIV.
“The contract between the captain and Ryder Cup Europe is obviously a private contract,” he said, “and I’m not going to go into detail on what’s in that contract.”
With Stenson removed from his post, Ryder Cup Europe has already reportedly found his replacement. The Telegraph reported Thursday that Luke Donald, who was a finalist for the job this spring, will assume the captaincy for 2023, with an official announcement expected in the next few days.
“That’s news to me,” Stenson said, when asked his reaction on Donald’s reported appointment. “Obviously, I’m not in the loop on these things at this point. I don’t feel like I should comment on that until that’s official news, if that were to be the case.”
Still to be determined is whether Stenson (who is down to No. 173 in the world) and the rest of the European LIV defectors will be eligible to play in the biennial matches next fall.
Unlike the PGA Tour, which has indefinitely suspended any member who competed in a LIV event, the DP World Tour has not ruled its players ineligible. Lee Westwood said that he is still planning to play the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, home of the DP World Tour, which is a qualifying event for the Ryder Cup.
“I would hope that the European tour would make a decision sooner rather than later,” Westwood said. “It’s only fair for everybody whether they play on the LIV Tour or the European tour or the PGA Tour to know where they stand as soon as possible.”
Added Ian Poulter: “We’re not sure right now where the qualification criteria sits. I believe we’re still all eligible to play. No decision has officially been made as far as I’m aware.”
Westwood is the captain of his four-man LIV team, which now includes Stenson, Poulter and Sam Horsfield.