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Two-time European Ryder Cup-winning captain Tony Jacklin fears Henrik Stenson’s move to the LIV Golf Invitational Series will have huge repercussions for the competition.
Stenson was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy earlier this week hours before he was officially unveiled as one of three new signings to the controversial Series. His capture is one of the biggest so far given the prestige of captaining the European Ryder Cup team. However, in an interview with The Express (opens in new tab), Jacklin explained that LIV Golf's gain is the Ryder Cup's loss.
He said: "Stenson's decision makes a mockery of the matches. It's the end of the Ryder Cup as we know it, it's bound to be. You cannot call it a credible event any more, and you can say the same for the Presidents Cup now too. Once the teams involved are not represented by the strongest players and individuals, the credibility of the competition is spent.”
Stenson, who has played in five Ryder Cups, released a statement earlier in the week saying that while he was hugely disappointed to lose the captaincy, there were several factors in his decision to sign up. As far as Jacklin is concerned, though, there's only one reason: "It's all come down to money, how much of it the players can earn, and we're only at the first round of it. It's a complete disaster and an extremely sad state of affairs. The LIV players are laughing all the way to the bank – they are having a honeymoon with all the money.”
It's not just the Ryder Cup Jacklin sees suffering, either. He thinks the Series poses a threat to next year’s Majors. He said: "What is very different at this point in time is figuring out what the long-term consequences will be for golf's officialdom, organisations like the R&A, the USGA, The Masters. All these institutions are affected by this crazy situation. They've got about 250 days until The Masters, the next Major championship, to sort all this out. Who's going to be allowed to play in which events going forward, that's the next question."
As to how to resolve the situation, Jacklin proposed one solution. He said: "I don't see an end game unless the Saudis are permitted to run their tour alongside the existing environment. That's the best we can hope for.”
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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