Henrik Stenson admits huge money offered by Saudi-backed LIV Golf played a factor in signing up
Henrik Stenson admits the huge money offered by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf rebels was ‘definitely’ a factor in signing up… while the Swede is disappointed to be stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy
- Henrik Stenson has admitted money played a part in his move to the LIV Golf series
- The controversial breakaway competition has attracted many of the best golfers
- Stenson says he hoped to retain the Ryder Cup captaincy despite his decision
Henrik Stenson said on Thursday that money certainly played a part in his move to the lucrative Saudi-backed LIV Golf series and he had hoped to keep his Ryder Cup captaincy, which he was stripped last week.
Stenson had helped Europe to victory in three of his five Ryder Cup appearances as a player, but Ryder Cup Europe said the 2016 British Open champion could no longer fulfill contractual obligations as captain after joining LIV Golf.
The leading group has attracted many of the best golfers, including six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and former world number one Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka. Stenson said the money offered convinced him to join them.
“I have been a golf professional since late 1998 and the size of the scholarship, the prize money on offer and the financial aspects have always been a part of where we set up our programs and where we are going to play,” Sweden’s Stenson told reporters.
“It’s definitely been part of it. That was no different in this case.’
Henrik Stenson says money played a part in his decision to switch to the LIV Golf series
Stenson will play in the third LIV Golf Tournament of the season starting Friday in New Jersey at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Critics of the new series say it amounts to “sports-washing” by a nation seeking to improve its reputation in the face of its history of human rights abuses.
LIV Golf CEO and former world number one Greg Norman has said the new series offers free agency players and fans an exciting new way to watch golf.
LIV Golf CEO and Greg Norman said the new competition would benefit fans and players alike
When asked if things looked good knowing he would have to give up the Ryder Cup captaincy, Stenson said he had done everything he could to keep it.
“I don’t feel like I’ve given up. I’ve made everything possible here to fulfill my captain’s duties, and I’ve had a lot of help here from LIV to do that,” said Stenson.
“And yet it was decided that I would be removed. I am of course disappointed with the situation, but it is what it is and we are moving forward.
“We’ve had conversations and I’ve informed them about the decision to play LIV tournaments. They had a short period of time where they were discussing or what was going to happen. Shortly afterwards I was informed of their decision.’
Stenson admitted he hoped to retain Ryder Cup captaincy despite controversial decision
However, Stenson said he hopes for a “quick fix” before the gap between the sport’s top players and tournament organizers widens.
“Of course I am sorry that we have ended up in this situation. I just hope that we can get a solution here as soon as possible for all the tours and everyone involved, and that we can all live together,” Stenson added.
“All the players love The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, it’s just a shame we’re in this situation.”