Could things get awkward for Henrik Stenson as he makes his first DP World Tour appearance since losing the Ryder Cup captaincy? Here's what Europe's new skipper Luke Donald has to say

Would you believe it’s now been six months since Henrik Stenson lost the Ryder Cup captaincy after sensationally turning his back on Team Europe to join LIV Golf?

Such has been the tumultuous state of world golf since then that it’s easy to forget just how big a deal the bombshell really was.

But after following the big bucks and winning his first LIV event, the Swede is now set to reunite with several ex-Ryder Cup teammates as he makes his first DP World Tour appearances since the controversial move – one which replacement skipper Luke Donald sees as a “strange situation” for all parties.

Speaking to The Telegraph ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – where an abundance of LIV golfers will be teeing up including Stenson, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed and Lee Westwood – the new Ryder Cup captain weighed-in on the “potentially” awkward reunion, revealing he even contacted the former upon taking over the role in July.

“At the beginning, when I became captain, we swapped some messages, and there are no issues,” Donald said. “From my standpoint it will be fine this week.”

But will there be any uncomfortableness for Stenson given the ongoing friction between LIV Golf and the DP World Tour?

“Potentially,” the Englishman admitted. “It’s just a strange situation isn’t it? But he’s obviously playing, so it seems like he is fine to be around [the DP World Tour].”

With question marks hanging over the future of LIV golfers on the European circuit – with a court case set to decide their fate in February – Donald says the outcome will help him progress with Ryder Cup proceedings ahead of the 2023 tournament in Rome.

Henrik Stenson

“To get some clarity will definitely help me,” he continued. “Hopefully we’ll have a bit more of that in a few weeks. But it’s not in my control, you know, and I’ll deal with it either way. My job is to get 12 guys in that team room, all on the same page, willing to win the Ryder Cup.”

As for another LIV golfer, the all-time leading points scorer in Ryder Cup history, Sergio Garcia, Donald explained he has no ill-feeling towards the Spaniard after he anguished himself from the biennial tournament, which takes place at Marco Simone in September.

“I have spoken to Sergio quite a few times since I’ve been captain. I mean, he’s cool with me. He understands my role and that I don’t have much influence on a lot of this stuff going on right now. But yeah, we’ve had some conversations which I’ll keep private.”

George Cooper

A golf fanatic his entire life, George Cooper is NCG's man for all goings-on at the top level of the game, whether it's the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA or LIV Golf. He also looks after NCG's Twitter and Facebook accounts. George is a member of Woburn, but is not friends with Ian Poulter.

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