Stenson isn’t sleeping about the future of the Ryder Cup

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson can happily sit back and wait for the DP World Tour to make a decision on his Ryder Cup future, the former British Open champion said on Tuesday.

Stenson was due to captain Team Europe at the Ryder Cup last year but was stripped of his role after agreeing to sign up for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Circuit in 2022. He was replaced by Luke Donald, who led Team Europe to victory over the USA in Rome.

In recent months there have been calls from top players such as four-time major winner Rory McIlroy for the DP World Tour to rewrite Ryder Cup eligibility rules to allow LIV players to qualify for the biennial team competition .

“Decisions have to be made in the next five or six months, be it the DP World Tour or the Ryder Cup Europe, in terms of eligibility,” Stenson told reporters ahead of the 2024 Saudi Open.

“With Jon (Rahm) and Tyrrell (Hatton) and (Adrian) Meronk also joining LIV, I’m sure they’ll have some more thinking to do about how to bring all of these things together.”

“The rest of us just sit back. The last two years have been an interesting time. I don’t really spend my time or sleep trying to figure out someone else’s strategy or conclusions.”

In 2023, Team Europe was without star players Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, who also joined the LIV circuit. The 12-member team included a number of younger golfers, including six players under the age of 30.

Stenson, 48, said a restructure of Team Europe was long overdue, adding: “It would have changed anyway, with or without LIV.”

“As far as the playing squad is concerned, you get to a point where the next generation has to take over and move on. That happened in Rome and the guys did a great job. It’s just a natural progression.”

Grow the game

Stenson returns to the Saudi Open this week after finishing second to Thailand’s Denwit Boriboonsub last year.

The Swede hailed the tournament as one of the signs of golf’s growth in Saudi Arabia, adding: “They are investing a lot of effort in building new venues, golf courses and resorts.”

“The first part of the puzzle is finding the venues and then getting juniors and potential golfers through the door…

“When there’s an international series and big names come to play, they lower the standard and that’s what the other guys try to surpass.”

Saudi Arabia has also invested heavily in sports such as tennis, football, Formula 1 and boxing through the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Critics have accused the oil-rich kingdom of “sports-washing” its human rights record, but Saudi Arabia rejects allegations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.

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