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henrik stenson dp world tour

‘This is not on me’: Henrik Stenson refuses blame for DP World Tour exile

Former Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson told NCG he has always wanted to support the DP World Tour and the path leading to his resignation was down to “politics”…

 

Henrik Stenson didn’t want to stop playing on the DP World Tour.

The former Open champion resigned his membership last summer when the circuit earned the right to fine and suspend players for joining the rival LIV Golf league.

Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia also returned their cards to avoid further penalties for competing on the Saudi circuit, marking an end to their illustrious careers on the formerly-named European Tour.

But Stenson says “politics” created a perception that they didn’t want to play on the tour from which they resigned in May 2023.

“I don’t want to speak for my other colleagues who are in a similar situation, but when we went to LIV and when we took this opportunity, that was instead of the PGA Tour,” he told NCG.

“Then because of the politics and the different stances, it ended up looking like we didn’t want to play the European Tour, but that was never the case.

“Myself and some of my colleagues, we all started in Europe, and we’ve always wanted to support Europe and we have always supported Europe, so it all ended up in a bad situation which really wasn’t on us.

“If that were to change in the future, we will obviously have a look at it, if the field changes, because as of now, it’s not possible for us to play because if you get fined every week for playing somewhere else, then you can’t really play there.”

The tour stated at the time their resignations were “a consequence of their own choices” and they were sanctioned for “serious breaches of the Tour’s Conflicting Tournament Regulation.”

This explosion was one of many to burst the spectrum of unpredictability in professional golf in the last two years, much like when the PGA Tour announced a framework agreement with the Public Investment Fund last June.

It is unclear what golf’s calendar year will look like if the PGA Tour, the PIF and the DP World Tour reach a compromise. We could then discover if players can dip in and out of different schedules.

Four-time major champion and Stenson’s former Ryder Cup teammate Rory McIlroy has floated the utopian thought of a world tour now he’s accepted LIV and Saudi Arabia’s existence in the sport.

Stenson, of Majesticks GC, reiterated that “someone else” will decide if he’s allowed a reprieve on the DP World Tour if golf’s brave new world is to take shape.

“This is not on me, or us, this is someone else that needs to change their view on it, and there could be a different outlook in the future,” he added.

“But, as of now, I’m happy where I’m at. I’m focusing on my life and career, my off-time, my on-time.

“We’ll see what comes out of it, but for the general golf fan, the interest is to watch good golf, whether it’s on LIV, whether it’s on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, or the Asian Tour. Wherever it is.

“They want to see good golf and they don’t want to hear people arguing in the background. The sooner we can get to that part, the better.”

dp world tour liv golf

Is another Henrik Stenson Ryder Cup captaincy out of the question?

In July 2022, Stenson was removed as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain having been set to lead the home side at Marco Simone in Rome last September.

He declared his commitment to the captaincy and Team Europe, but he was stripped and replaced by Englishman Luke Donald for moving to LIV Golf.

His DP World Tour resignation all but ended any chance of further involvement in the event he competed in five times as a player.

But now the main three tours are talking, could there be a world where Stenson is handed a lifeline, bygones are bygones, and he is reinstated as captain?

“It’s quite a hypothetical question. We would cross that bridge if and when we were to get there, it’s not something I would say yes or no to at this point,” he said.

“But there’s going to be a lot of things that need to be ironed out before that would ever be a possibility.

“I was very much a part of it for three months leading up to it. A lot of things were being put in place during that time. It wasn’t a surprise with how the golf bags were looking, to put it that way.

“I knew where the cut lines were going to be on the 1st hole and all of that. So, we put a lot of things in place both in terms of people that were involved and some of the other decisions that were made early on.

“Obviously, I was removed, and Luke was put in, but there were certain wheels already in motion, so it wasn’t all surprising on some of the things and how it turned out.

“It was a great success on the European side, and like we’re seeing in the past five Ryder Cups, it’s been a very much home-field advantage to set up the golf course and do things in a way that’s going to benefit the home team.”

NOW READ: A sinking ship or a thriving future: What’s left after the Keith Pelley era?

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