(London) Henrik Stenson has been stripped of his role as captain of the European team in the 2023 Ryder Cup, amid rumors sending him to the LIV circuit, another example of the convulsions that have rocked golf since the birth of this breakaway league backed by Saudi Arabia.
Posted at 8:04 am
Ryder announced Wednesday in a press release that the mandate of the 46-year-old Swedish golfer, who was appointed to the job last March, has expired with “immediate effect.”
“Due to the decisions made by Henrik regarding his personal situation, it has become clear that he cannot fulfill some of the binding contractual terms of the European Ryder Cup,” the press release continues, without further details.
The Ryder Cup Europe concluded with the “timely confirmation of the new European Captain’s name for the 2023 Ryder Cup”.
Media reported that Stenson, who did not immediately react, was about to join the controversial LIV Golf, a league backed financially by Saudi Arabia. Participation in this league’s inaugural tournament recently led to the exclusion of European golfers who participated in it from three tournaments on the European circuit (DP World Tour).
Being a member of the DP World Tour is exactly a sine qua non to be able to be a part of the European Ryder Cup team opposing the United States.
The first Swede to be named captain of Europe, Henrik Stenson had a long history in this biennial competition that pits American and European golfers formed into teams of twelve. He helped the Europeans win three of his five matches (2006, 2014 and 2018) and was deputy captain in 2020.
Winner of the British Open in 2016, Stinson ranked second in the world, even if he is now 171e Rank.
His appointment as captain of the European Ryder Cup team appears to have put an end to the speculation surrounding his possible participation in the LIV golf course. “I am fully committed to this leadership […]I will do everything I can to make sure we have a winning team in Rome,” he said at the time.
“Take the money”
The next edition of the Ryder Cup will be held in Rome from 25 to 1 SeptemberVerse October 2023. The US team won the last edition of the prestigious team competition in Whistling Straits (Wisconsin) in September 2021.
Having missed the cut at the last British Open last week, Stenson admitted his upcoming schedule remains “uncertain”, and appears to cast doubt on his future.
Several big names in golf have already joined the ring with the support of Saudi Arabia and their removal from former world No. 1 Greg Norman, drawing the ire of DP World as well as of the US circuit, the PGA, such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Charles Schwarzl, Sergio Garcia or Graeme McDowell.
Several human rights organizations have also criticized the new department, which they say exists only to restore the international image of Saudi Arabia, a phenomenon known as “sports washing.” In the United States, associations of relatives of 9/11 victims who consider Saudi Arabia to be complicit in the attacks have also stepped up.
Since the creation of this league, whose rich tournaments have been played, over three days, 54 holes versus four days and 72 holes in the “regular” tournament, moreover, the two historic circuits have united, pledging in particular to increase the more than 13-year suspension of their competitions or Allow golfers from the European circuit to pass on the PGA Tour.
Former US President Donald Trump on Monday entered the fray, urging golfers to “take the money” and join the LIV Tour he is hosting at two tournaments on his owned courses this year.
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