'Disappointment' - The Swedish View After Stenson Chooses LIV Over Ryder Cup Captaincy

How has Stenson giving up the Ryder Cup captaincy been viewed in his homeland?

Henrik Stenson celebrates in front of Swedish fans at the Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Disappointment is the word that sums up how the Swedish golfers in general are feeling right now," says Eric Franzen, editor of Svensk Golf, in the week that Henrik Stenson relinquished his Ryder Cup captaincy to move to LIV Golf.

The Ice Man was set to be Sweden's first ever Ryder Cup captain just seven years after becoming the country's first ever male Major winner. Stenson said he was " hugely disappointed" to lose the job while insisting that LIV "is something that I want to experience."

"He was an icon in Swedish golf, that’s for sure," Eric Franzen told Golf Monthly. "I mean he was the first male winner of a Major tournament so he was really accepted both by the golf audience and by the wider sports audience as well. He’s an approachable guy, very likeable, has a great sense of humour. Sports fans in Sweden generally adopted him and now it’s a bit of a different scenario obviously.

"I would guess that disappointment is the word that sums up how the Swedish golfers in general are feeling right now. I mean Ryder Cup is a big thing in Sweden, a very prestigious tournament and we take pride that we have had several people as vice captains and that we also had players making their mark in different versions of the Ryder Cup.

"Now for the first time we were looking forward to having a Swedish captain and that just went into shambles."

Franzen says the Stenson story has been a big one this week in his home nation and has even led to an appearance on a national TV sports show. He says Stenson's legacy is tarnished but his achievements won't be forgotten, although he'll now be remembered as the guy who ruined Sweden's chances for its first Ryder Cup captain.

"Yeah it is [his legacy being tarnished]," Franzen said. "It would be a bit different if he actually would have followed through with the role as the captain then it would kind of be one of the highlights of his career obviously with the victory at Royal Troon as well.

"Now I mean he’s not going to be erased from the history of Swedish golf, he’s still going to be the first male Major winner but his legacy is going to be viewed a bit differently because he’s also going to be the guy that basically ruined our chances to see a Swedish captain in the Ryder Cup."

Stenson said in a statement that he was committed to growing the game, although some may think his LIV move was purely for financial reasons with the 2016 Open champion's fee to sign with LIV Golf reported to be somewhere between $40m-$50m.

"It’s written by some PR person basically and growing the game, I mean people have reacted on that specific line and think it would just be more honest if he would just say that it’s a cash grab right away. So yeah especially that line has attracted a bit of attention."

Franzen also thinks Stenson's affiliation with the DP World Tour, and specifically the Scandinavian Mixed, will now be over. Stenson hosted the mixed, equal prize money tournament with fellow legend Annika Sorenstam, which Franzen said "breathed new life" into the former Scandinavian Masters.

"Probably not [on Stenson continuing as host]. It’s a big event yeah, it breathed a bit of new life into the European Tour event the Scandinavian Masters that’s been around forever.

"So they introduced the new format and a way basically to show everyone that golf is a very accessible and welcoming sport. Right now I really can’t see that they are going to keep him on as a host of the tournament. The European Tour also owns the tournament, stages it so I can’t see it happening."

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5