Rome. The economic progress of the Arab Super League also affects the Ryder Cup 2023. Henrik Stenson, announced four months ago as captain of the continental team at next year’s American Challenge in Rome, has been relieved of his position and with effect immediately from Ryder Cup Europe.
Sweden, despite a signed contract, complete with penalties in case of termination, has accepted the flatter and petrodollars of LIV Golf. A tough blow to the Ryder Cup, which is honoring the Cup and the win: no prize money. And that’s why the choice of Stenson, 46, of Gothenburg, is seen as a betrayal in the environment. In fact, Stenson – having already been approached by the Super League before accepting the post of captain of the old continent – would have been offered $50 million, an amount that would have shaken the Scandinavian’s (in)certainty.
“His mandate is to be deemed terminated with immediate effect. In light of the individual circumstances decisions he has taken, it is clear that he will not be able to fulfill the contractual obligations to which he has committed for Ryder Cup Europe. The new European captain will be chosen in due course. Until that time, Ryder Cup Europe will not comment further on “communication from Ryder Cup Europe which, however, does not refer to the Super League.
The move by Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, is one of those looking to make a mark. The Australian, nicknamed “The White Shark”, who is meanwhile preparing to announce the other champions: in addition to Stenson, Australian Cameron Smith (fresh from victory at The Open), world No. 2, and Japanese Hideki Matsuyama ( His The Masters in 2021).
The salaries that oblige the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, as also suggested by the many champions on the green – from Rory McIlroy to Francesco Molinari – open clash with LIV Golf trying to find a solution to such a story. To do that also carries the risk of mitigating the risk. The credibility of the Ryder Cup is the third most important media event in the world after the World Cup and the Olympics.
And the example of Tiger Woods, who turned down a $1 billion offer, appears increasingly to be an (almost) isolated case. From Dustin Johnson to Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson to Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau to Patrick Reed: there are many big names who have already picked up the Super League, also fighting legal battles with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour .
And now Ryder Cup Europe is at the point of no return. The new captain should be elected within a week.
Norwegian Thomas Björn (along with Edoardo Molinari among the old continent’s vice-captains), who led Europe to success in Paris in 2018, could be picked. British Luke Donald and Scotsman Paul Lowry are also competing. From candidates to suggestions. With RCE giving that a strong signal, Rory could try to convince McIlroy – one of the most important of the Super League – to take on the dual role of captain-player. A dream more than a fantasy.
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