Henrik Stenson Set For Ryder Cup Captaincy Dilemma

The Telegraph reports that the Swede will have to choose between the proposed riches of the Saudi League or the Ryder Cup captaincy...

Henrik Stenson close up of face
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson is set to have to choose between Ryder Cup captaincy or the reported Saudi Golf league according to a report in The Daily Telegraph. The Swede is favourite for the job in Rome after Lee Westwood ruled himself out of the running in November, but DP World Tour bosses will not allow him to take up the role if he joins the rumoured Saudi-backed golf league.

The 45-year-old, a five-time Ryder Cupper and 2021 vice captain, is one of many big names in the upcoming Saudi International field, where players have received up to seven-figure appearance fees, and it has been reported that the Swede is one of the players who have had a $30m approach to appear in the rumoured league.

Last October, the Asian Tour penned a $200million deal with LIV Golf Investments, a start-up company with Greg Norman as its CEO. With the Saudi Public Investment Fund also being the majority shareholder of LGI, speculation continues to grow that Norman will be at the centre of a new Saudi-backed golf league. 

If Stenson were to join a Saudi-backed golf league he would ultimately forfeit his chance of becoming Europe's next captain, with both Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson also in the running for the job. The captaincy decision should have been decided this week by a panel that includes Europe's last three captains, although the Telegraph understands that the announcement has been delayed by a month. 

Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson pose for a photo

Stenson, Donald and Karlsson are all in the running to become Europe's next Ryder Cup captain for Rome 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“It is a heck of a decision,” an anonymous member of Stenson’s team told The Telegraph. “It’s complicated not only by the huge amounts on offer. This [Ryder Cup captaincy] could be his one and only chance with so many big Europe figures about to come into the picture for future matches. But then, it’s far from guaranteed he will get it this time anyway, with Luke obviously having a strong shout and the case for Karlsson seemingly strengthening by the day.”

Former World No.1 Donald has played in four Ryder Cup teams, winning all four, and has twice been a vice captain. Robert Karlsson has played in two Ryder Cups and has also been a vice captain on two occasions. It remains to be seen as to who gets the nod.

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 team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five 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 off of a six handicap. 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

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV