By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer
Henrik Stenson was removed as Ryder Cup captain for Europe, choosing guaranteed money offered by a Saudi-funded rival league over leading his team in the most celebrated event on the European tour schedule.
The LIV Golf series has three additions for its next 54-hole tournament at Trump National in New Jersey next week and Sky Sports said Stenson would be leaving for the rival league.
That meant giving up a captaincy that he accepted four months ago when he said, “I’m fully committed to my role as a captain and working hard toward the result we want in Rome.”
The Americans are coming off a record rout at Whistling Straits last year. The Ryder Cup next goes to Marco Simone outside Rome in 2023.
The European tour did not mention LIV Golf in its short statement Wednesday after meeting with the Swedish star, only that Stenson’s captaincy “has been brought to an end with immediate effect.”
“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,” the statement said.
Luke Donald also was considered as European captain when the job was given to Stenson. Robert Karlsson also was an option and it would be surprising if Europe went back to Thomas Bjorn, the winning captain in France in 2018 and Europe’s strongest voice.
Stenson is No. 171 in the world and has gone five years since winning a tournament against more than 20 players. He fits the profile of many players Greg Norman has signed up for his LIV Golf series — major champions whose best days are behind them.
He was thought to be the ideal candidate for the Saudis, but had to weigh cash against his legacy as a Ryder Cup captain. He chose one, then the other.
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