Henrik Stenson stripped of Ryder Cup captaincy amid LIV Golf links

Stenson has been stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy

Henrik Stenson has been stripped of Europe’s Ryder Cup captaincy amid speculation he is set to accept an offer to join the breakaway LIV Golf Series.

Europe’s preparations for next September’s Ryder Cup in Rome had been rocked by speculation that Stenson would be the latest player to join the Saudi Arabia-backed rebel tour.

Stenson was named as captain in March and the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, had issued warnings that any player to sign up for the lucrative LIV Golf would not be eligible to participate in the Ryder Cup.

And, after discussions with Ryder Cup Europe officials, the decision was made to effectively sack him as captain on Wednesday.

“Ryder Cup Europe today confirms that Henrik Stenson’s tenure as captain of Team Europe for the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from September 25 to October 1, 2023, has been brought to an end with immediate effect,” a statement read.

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

“Confirmation of the new 2023 European Ryder Cup captain will be made in due course. Ryder Cup Europe will be making no further comment on any aspect of the process until that time.”

The 46-year-old Swede, who won the Open in 2016 and is a two-time European player of the year, could feature in the third LIV Golf event next week, where prize money at single events stands at a total of £20 million.

Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell, who were all potential future Ryder Cup captains as stalwarts of the European team, are also ineligble after joining LIV Golf ahead of its first event in St Albans last month.

Former skipper Thomas Bjorn, who led them to victory at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018, is already on the team after Stenson selected him as his first vice-captain.

Promoting him back to the top job would seem the most straightforward option, with the event only 14 months away.

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Italian Edoardo Molinari, who, alongside his brother Francesco, was part of the victorious 2010 at Celtic Manor in Wales, is also a vice-captain, but it would seem too big a step at this stage for him to take over.

Luke Donald, who was pipped to the appointment by Stenson, is another option who could be parachuted in.

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