Henrik Stenson has released a statement confirming his decision to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series - but not without acknowledging his dismay at being stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy.
The decision was widely expected following the news earlier that the Swede had been stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy. However, Stenson admitted that decision has has left him hugely disappointed. He said: "While I disagree with this decision, for now it is a decision that I accept. I have huge respect and admiration for the Ryder Cup and those individuals behind it who I know are doing their utmost to act in the best interests of the historic event. I want to thank everyone I have worked with to date to prepare for Rome in 2023, I am hugely disappointed to not be allowed to continue in my role but wish you all the best in your ongoing preparations."
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Despite his dismay, Stenson stressed his ongoing support for the Ryder Cup. He said: "It is a shame to witness the significant uncertainty surrounding the Ryder Cup, who will be eligible to play etc. I sincerely hope a resolution between the tours and its members is reached soon and that the Ryder Cup can act as a mechanism for repair amongst various golfing bodies and their members. It goes without saying that I remain on hand to support Ryder Cup Europe in any way I can and very much hope the opportunity to represent Team Europe in some capacity will come my way again at some point in the future"
On his decision to join the Greg Norman-fronted Series, Stenson cited a long-standing interest in the idea. He said: "My interest in this concept has been well documented over the past few years and despite some of the unfortunate and ongoing tension between LIV Golf, the DP World Tour & PGA Tours, ultimately, the opportunity to play in LIV events moving forward is something that I want to experience."
Stenson also stated his desire to continue playing on other Tours, saying: "My hope is that my decision to play in LIV events will not restrict me from playing on any tour. Playing on multiple tours around the world is something I have done throughout my career, and I very much hope I can continue to do so."
That plea seems set to fall on deaf ears, at least for the time being, with the PGA Tour suspending players who tee it up on the Series and it and the DP World Tour strengthening their alliance in recent weeks. Stenson will take part in the third LIV Golf tournament, beginning next week in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he will be joined by former World No.3 Paul Casey as another high-profile player in the field.
Speculation surrounding Stenson has mounted in recent weeks, with reports that he was set to swap his Ryder Cup position in favour of joining the Greg Norman-fronted venture. That was seemingly made official when Ryder Cup Europe announced it had ended the Swede's tenure with "immediate effect in light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances."
The 46-year-old reportedly met with officials shortly after the conclusion of the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews but they were unable to dissuade the former Champion Golfer of the Year from following his former teammates Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, to name a few.
Many will question whether Stenson was targeted on the merit of his golf game or purely for the symbolism statement of successfully poaching the man that previously held one of golf's most coveted positions.
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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