'They Left Me With No Other Choice' - Stenson Quits DP World Tour After LIV Sanctions

European stalwart Henrik Stenson quits the DP World Tour after the latest sanctions for joining LIV Golf

Henrik Stenson in action in Hong Kong
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the first of what is expected to be a run of further resignations, Henrik Stenson has quit the DP World Tour in the wake of the sanctions imposed on players who joined LIV Golf.

The DP World Tour imposed fines and suspensions on 26 players who played in LIV Golf events, with sums of £25,000-£100,000 for each event played in.

It comes after players were hit with £100,000 fines for playing in the inaugural LIV Golf event in London, and it’s proved to be enough for European stalwart Stenson to resign from the DP World Tour.

Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Richard Bland quit last week, and now the man who was originally supposed to be European Ryder Cup captain this year has now cut his ties with the DP World Tour altogether.

“It is sad that it has come to this,” Stenson told Golf Digest. “But it is what it is and it certainly wasn’t unexpected. They left me with no other choice so I have resigned. That’s it.

“I don’t really feel like it will do any good to dig into this too deeply. I’m appreciative of what the tour has done for me over the years. But they have chosen how they want to view the future. And we have obviously done the same. Unfortunately, they don’t go together at this point.

The 47-year old Swede was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy after joining LIV Golf less than a year ago, and his resignation caps a whirlwind of change in less than a year.

Stenson says he found out via a letter about the latest sanctions – and says the Tour has really left him with no other choice.

“When Richard Bland, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia resigned last week, the tour said they would have a statement the next day,” Stenson added. “Then the next day they said the statement would actually come next week.

“There were rumours that would happen today and those rumours were right. I received a letter, as did all the other players involved, I hear. The tour has taken a stand on the LIV events we all played in and that left me with no decision to make really.”

Although Stenson says he has issues with how things have been handled by the DP World Tour, he has no intention of going public on those – and insists he does not want to cause any rifts so close to the Ryder Cup in Italy.

“I haven’t added up the numbers on how much I was fined,” he said. “It was anywhere between £50,000 and £75,000 per LIV event, which added up to a substantial amount.

“I don’t feel like me spilling the beans and airing my views on all this is actually going to be what I should do. Doing that is only going to make the situation even more infected than it already is.

“As was the case when I resigned the Ryder Cup captaincy, I have my views on a lot of things that have gone on. But out of respect for a lot of people and what they do - and even those I don’t totally respect - there is no point in me digging any deeper.

“There is less than half a year until the Ryder Cup so it is best I don’t say much other than to say I’ve resigned.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.