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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.
“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 is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Honma TR20B
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x