'The Ryder Cup Is Bigger Than Henrik' - Lee Gives Thoughts On Reported Stenson LIV Move

Speaking at The Senior Open Championship, Sky Sports' Rob Lee stated that Stenson is flushing his legacy down the toilet

Stenson holds the Ryder Cup, Lee looks on and winces
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After the climax of The 150th Open Championship, attention was soon back on LIV Golf and who will be in the next batch of stars to potentially sign. Following his Claret Jug win, Cameron Smith could be reportedly jumping to the Saudi-backed series but, in a turn of events, current European Ryder Cup captain, Henrik Stenson, is reportedly set to be announced as the most recent signing.

On Sunday, Swedish newspaper Expressen, reported that the European Ryder Cup captain is on the verge of joining LIV Golf, with the Swede, who missed the cut at the 150th Open at St Andrews by a single shot, reportedly not wanting to comment on anything to do with the Saudi-funded competitions when Expressen spoke with him before the Championship.

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Following the report, many individuals and media outlets have had their say on the matter, with Sky Sports' Rob Lee stating that: "Stenson is flushing it all (his legacy) down the toilet."

Speaking ahead of The Senior Open Championship, a tournament which has the likes of former Ryder Cup captains Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazábal and Colin Montgomerie playing in it, the two-time European Tour winner didn't mince his words and thoughts surrounding the speculation.

"If he goes to LIV he seals his own future," said Lee. "He had an agreement with the Tour that he was going to be there guy, all the way through the captaincy and through the Ryder Cup next year. If he reneges on that and does something else then that's the end of that. So, he's kind of decided his own fate. 

"I think the players that have gone to LIV have decided that cash is king and, you make your choice, it's fair enough. But you take what goes with that and, for Henrik, Open champion and Champion Golfer of the Year, Ryder Cup captain, some really nice legacy involvement with Annika (Sörenstam) with the mixed event in Sweden. 

"There's lots of good things for Henrik Stenson and he's kind of just flushing it all down the toilet now with his U turn, in terms of his commitment to the DP World. The Ryder Cup is bigger than Henrik Stenson and the Ryder Cup is bigger than individuals."

What is LIV Golf?

Lee isn't the only Sky Sports pundit that gave their thoughts, with 2002 PGA Championship winner, Rich Beem, "dumbfounded" by Stenson's decision to take the European captaincy and then reportedly join LIV Golf just five months later.

"For him to take the captaincy and then join LIV, that's disappointing," explained Beem. "I've known Henrik for years and years, it just seems a bit disrespectful. That great tournament they have in the Ryder Cup, I just think that, you get the captaincy and it doesn't get much better than that. 

"I mean, what an honour to be bestowed on and, you're going to play golf and you're doing it for the money, I mean, let's just say what it is, they're going for the money. Can't you make enough money as a Ryder Cup captain for a couple of years and then go. It just doesn't feel right. It's a blow for sure, but golf will move on and golf will still flourish. The Ryder Cup is still going to be the Ryder Cup."

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.