Ryder Cup eligibility remains uncertain with European LIV golf players

BEDMINSTER, NJ — A week after being stripped as captain of the 2023 European Ryder Cup team, Henrik Stenson has regretted that the decision to step down as captain was made by the DP World Tour.

The Swede, who won the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon and played on five European Ryder Cup teams, was named captain in March as the LIV Golf Invitational Series appeared to be winding down.

But later that week, LIV Golf announced an eight-tournament schedule for this year and has already announced that it will play 14 events next year. Stenson, 46, who had long been thought to consider a move to LIV Golf, made it official last week.

“I don’t feel like I’ve given up,” Stenson told Trump Bedminster on Thursday, where he will compete in his first LIV golf event beginning Friday. “I made every possible arrangement here to be able to fulfill my duties as captain, and I had great help here from LIV to be able to do so. And yet the decision was made that I had to be removed.

“I am obviously disappointed with the situation. But that’s how it is, we’re moving on now”

Stenson shared an interview table with European Ryder Cup veterans Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, who both maintain that no decision has been made and that they would still like to be part of future Ryder Cups.

“We’re not sure right now where the qualifying criteria are,” Poulter said. “I believe we are all still eligible to play. No decision has been officially made to my knowledge. I think the criteria is in three weeks (at the BMW PGA Championship), we start qualifying, but we still don’t have a definitive answer on what it’s going to look like. So we haven’t received that level of information yet.

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Said Westwood: “I am still eligible to play on the European Tour. I don’t think I was banned from participating in events. The PGA (BMW) Championship is always my next European Tour event at Wentworth. I have had no correspondence about this. It’s an event, a qualifying event, for the European Ryder Cup team.

Unlike PGA Tour players who have been indefinitely suspended from playing tournaments, those playing on the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) have not been barred from playing tournaments – although they have been sentenced to a fine for participating in LIV events without publishing conflicting events. .

This has left uncertainty over whether the opportunity to compete in the Ryder Cup exists. The DP World Tour only requires four events to maintain membership, and earning enough points to qualify – whether through their tour points list or via the global leaderboard – seems like a tall order while competing in events. LIV who won’t win. anything towards qualification.

Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour, insisted that Stenson had signed a contract with the Ryder Cup Europe. Although neither he nor Stenson spoke about the details of the contract, the Telegraph reported that the language stipulated that Stenson could not participate in the rival league.

Stenson said Wednesday he was keeping his options open and was asked about possible legal action.

“I just expect to be treated fairly in the future depending on the results in this whole matter, and it has not yet been seen what decisions have to be made and when we will be informed of everything the boys say here. , qualifying and vice-captains and everything,” he said.

“So up to this point, we’re just waiting for the European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe to make those announcements.”

Michael C. Ford