Henrik Stenson won’t ‘name names’ with cryptic Ryder Cup comments amidst LIV Golf drama

Henrik Stenson has played in five Ryder Cups, earning 11 points total for Team Europe during the bi-annual competitions.

His success on the course and his joyful presence among the European players earned him the right to serve as captain, an honor bestowed upon him by the DP World Tour and Ryder Cup Europe in 2022.

But after joining LIV Golf last summer, the powers that be stripped Stenson of his captaincy, instead selecting Luke Donald of England to oversee Team Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome.

“I’m just disappointed that with everything that came out because there was a big willingness on my part to sit down and talk long before this thing got to where it got to,” Stenson said after his final round at The Open in an exclusive interview with Mark Cannizaro of The New York Post.

“There were certain people, without naming names, that didn’t want to sit down and take those meetings. As a consequence, I feel like we ended up in all of this that could have been avoided. But we live, and we learn.”

The 145th Open, Henrik Stenson, Royal Troon

TROON, Scotland — Henrik Stenson pictured with the Claret Jug at the 145th Open at Royal Troon Golf Club on July 17, 2016. Stenson shot an 8-under 63 Sunday to hold off Phil Mickelson and claim the Claret Jug.
Photo by Bill Murray/Getty Images

Stenson has been put in an awkward situation. Especially considering the recent announcement from the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) agreeing to form a new entity for professional golf in the future.

Despite this, the European side in Rome will still look much different than the team that lost to the Americans in 2021.

Ryder Cuppers Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, and Bernd Wiesberger—along with Stenson—joined LIV Golf in 2022.

Garcia has won more Ryder Cup points than any player in the competition’s history, while Poulter, Westwood, and Casey have combined to play in 23 Ryder Cups dating back to 1997.

Yet, Ryder Cup Europe barred LIV players from representing the European team due to their commitment to the Saudi-backed tour.

This remains in effect despite the agreement announced on Jun. 6.

“A lot of the decisions are not on my plate,” the 2016 Champion Golfer of the Year said. “We’ll see where it ends up: from the Ryder Cup to memberships on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour and all the rest of it. I’m just sitting tight right now.”

Being stripped of his captaincy brought about “difficult times, not fun times” for Stenson, who would have been Sweden’s first Ryder Cup captain.

“I knew I could have fulfilled my obligations as captain, but clearly, the DP World Tour and Ryder Cup Europe didn’t see it that way, and that’s why they made their decision,” Stenson added.

“I will look forward and not backward.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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