Henrik Stenson has reportedly been handed a Ryder Cup ultimatum that, for Alex Perry, feels like a no-brainer. He wraps up the week's talking points in The Slam

Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam, and the Ryder Cup captaincy conundrum once again makes headlines… 

Wait, isn’t it normally announced by now? 

Well spotted. Yes, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for the following year is normally revealed at the Abu Dhabi Championship – because where else would they do it? – but it’s been pushed back a few weeks as the selection panel continues to work out where it all went wrong in September’s 19-9 drubbing at Whistling Straits

Lee Westwood ruled himself out a few weeks back to effectively make it a two-horse race between Henrik Stenson and Luke Donald, while Robert Karlsson – a pivotal part of Thomas Bjorn’s victorious backroom team in 2018 – has since been thrown into the mix.   

But according to the Telegraph’s James Corrigan – who rarely misses when it comes to anything DP World Tour or Ryder Cup related – Stenson has been told he must decide between leading Team Europe out in Italy next year or signing up to Public Investment Fund-backed Super Golf League. 

While the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and Justin Thomas are among the big names who have already announced they will remain loyal to their circuits, Stenson is one of a host of players ready to accept the Saudi cash.  

The 2016 Open champion, if reports are to be believed, has been offered $30 million.   

With Westwood, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose likely to take the Ryder Cup reins at some point in the next decade, it looks like ‘23 will be Stenson’s only chance. Though, Corrigan adds, murmurings at Ryder Cup HQ suggest the panel would rather go with the right person for the job, rather than just the next legend to reach a certain age. There has even been talk of Bjorn going again. 

The question that remains is: would Stenson really destroy his reputation – and his chance at one of the most coveted roles in golf – for a few extra zeros on his bank balance?

It’s not like he’s short of a bob or two. Despite that scam that cost him around eight million big ones a few years back, we’re still talking about someone who sits in fourth on the all-time European Tour earnings list – only Westwood McIlroy, Garcia have won more – and has also won the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and all the riches that brings. 

I know how I’d rather be remembered.

Hatts off

European Tour. DP World Tour. It doesn’t matter because their social media team are still smashing it out of the park.

Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Tyrrell Hatton took on the one-yard fairway challenge in Abu Dhabi this week.

If you don’t know what it is, it’s where the golfers – with driver – have to find a strip of grass that’s just 36 inches wide.

It’s TaylorMade’s brand new Stealth driver against Ping’s trusty G425. Which – and who – comes out on top? Make yourself a cuppa and enjoy…

Farewell, Bob

Tremendously sad news from the US this week as another Masters champion left us. Bob Goalby was 92.

If you don’t know the extraordinary story behind his 1968 win at Augusta, it’s an absolute must-read.

Shot of the week

You see this sort of thing all the time on YouTube, but never in a tournament.

Relatable moment of the week

You see this sort of thing all the time on your golf course, but never in a tournament.

So who’s in the winners’ circle?

Thomas Pieters picked up his sixth DP World Tour title and comfortably his biggest to date at a blustery Yas Links, where he edged out another player rediscovering a bit of form in Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Talking of comeback kings, how lovely to see Victor Dubuisson notch a top five. His story is also worth revisiting.

Also experiencing the joy of six this weekend was Danielle Kang, who won the LPGA Tour’s season opener at the Tournament of Champions…

Over in California, Hudson Swafford won his third PGA Tour title at the American Express…

But it’s safe to say World No 1 Jon Rahm isn’t happy with the low scoring at the Credit Card Classic. (Language warning.)

Hey, Netflix, give him all the money he wants to get him involved in your PGA Tour docuseries.

Earlier in the week, teen phenom Akshay Bhatia won his first Korn Ferry Tour title at the… where was it again, Akshay?

Tremendous.

Right, that’s enough from me for another week. Are you on Twitter? You should follow me. If you do I may even start tweeting.

If you’re braving the conditions, wrap up and play well.

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Alex Perry

Editor

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

Handicap: 14

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