The first LIV Golf golfer to return to the DP World Tour circuit
In fact, Henrik Stenson has not been banned completely but is still eligible to play on the Tour - at least for now, when there is no outcome of the lawsuit regarding the scandals between LIV Golf players fighting to participate in the Old World circuit. Skipping the home event in England, Henrik Stenson will head to another event with a larger "conspiracy".
Stenson, along with 11 other LIV Golf-er players, including Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed, Bernd Wiesberger and Adrian Otaegui, are all shortlisted for the upcoming Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The $7.5 million tournament, held January 19-22 and one of the top-grossing Rolex Series events on the DP World Tour, is where the tournament kicks off the 2023 season. Ironically, Ryder Cup captain, former world No. 1 Luke Donald, will also take Stenson's place at Yas Links in the United Arab Emirates' biggest stadium.
All of that comes exactly 12 months after Stenson shyly gave an interview to Golf Digest at the same event last year about being awarded the Ryder Cup captaincy.
“It is good to be a potential name for the captain position. But maybe I'll have to wait and see because so far I haven't had any discussions with the decision makers. But I think it's important for anyone to know what they're going to do. There is too much responsibility to go with the captain's armband, not simply showing up in Rome for a few days and easily grabbing the championship trophy", said Henrik Stenson.
Just two months after making those comments, the five-time Ryder Cup golfer was named captain after he made sure he wouldn't switch to LIV Golf. But then after the Open Championship, Stenson "turned around", forcing DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley to remove him from the squad to lead the European team.
Replacing the captain position, Luke Donald did not hesitate to rub salt on the wound caused by Stenson himself. “I’m not surprised, we all knew this was coming at some point, we all knew that Henrik was going to go, and it’s disappointing," he said. “He signed a contract to be with the tour until post Ryder Cup at least, and he has gone back on what he said he would do, he left the tour with no option really. It’s the worst kept secret that Henrik was going to go to LIV and basically let the DP World Tour down.”
Therefore, the presence of the former King of The Open in Abu Dhabi in the next 2 weeks will certainly be the focus of attention of the international golf community, and it is not excluded that the war of words will continue to explode. go out. A week after the event in Abu Dhabi, the DP World Tour will stop in Dubai to host the Dubai Desert Classic event (no competitor list yet). And a week later, the Swedish golfer (and many of his fellow LIV players) is expected to join the Open Cam Smith champion in the Saudi International. This event is not officially within the framework of LIV Golf, but it is still an Asian Tour tournament invested by Arab giants.