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Stenson not giving up on Ryder Cup


Henrik Stenson said Thursday he had not given up hope of playing in the Ryder Cup in the future despite being sacked as Europe captain following his decision to sign with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.

Speaking on the eve of his LIV Golf debut at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, Stenson said he had "made every arrangement" to continue as Europe skipper after agreeing to join the lucrative new series.

The 46-year-old major champion was promptly fired as Europe captain last week after confirmation he had joined LIV.

"I made every arrangement possible to be able to fulfill my captain's duties, and I've had great help here from LIV to be able to do that," Stenson said.

"And still, the decision was made that I was to be removed. I'm obviously disappointed over the situation.

"But it is what it is, we move on from there now."

Reports in Britain on Thursday said Luke Donald was being lined up to replace Stenson as captain, with an announcement expected next week. Stenson said Thursday he was unaware Donald had been linked with the job.

"That's news to me," Stenson said. "Obviously I'm not in the loop on these things at this point.

"I don't feel like I should comment on that until that's official news if that were to be the case."

In March, Stenson had described being chosen for the Ryder Cup captaincy as a "huge honor", describing his appointment as a "dream come true."

However his decision to join LIV in a deal worth an estimated $48 million has triggered speculation about the future viability of the Ryder Cup.

A slew of top US and Europe Ryder Cup stars have already defected to LIV, a move that effectively bars them from selection for the biennial team tournament.

Despite the bitter current climate in world golf, Stenson said he hoped the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV would eventually broker an agreement that allowed the rival circuits to co-exist, safeguarding the Ryder Cup.

"I obviously feel like it's a shame that we ended up in this situation," Stenson said.

"I just hope that we can get a resolution as soon as possible here for all tours and everyone involved, and we can all kind of co-exist together.

"All the players love The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. It's just a shame we ended up in this situation. I hope for a quick solution."

Other European Ryder Cup stars who have signed for LIV, including Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, also called for clarity regarding their eligibility for selection.

"I believe we're still all eligible to play," Poulter said. "No decision has officially been made as far as I'm aware."

Westwood meanwhile said he still planned to play European Tour events unless told otherwise.

"I don't think I've been banned from playing any events," he said. "No decision's been made on qualification for the team, and my future or any of our futures playing The European Tour.

"So that leads me to believe that we're still eligible to play in it, unless you can tell me otherwise."

Stenson, who last week acknowledged that his decision to join LIV was "commercially driven", meanwhile made no apologies for being motivated by money.

"I've been a golf professional since very late 1998, and purse sizes, prize money on offer, financial part's always been a part of where we made up our schedules and where we are going to play," Stenson said.

"It's been a part of it, absolutely. It was no different in this case."

LIV was launched this year with financial backing from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Critics say the money-spinning golf circuit is part of a Saudi effort to "sportswash" the kingdom's international image over its human rights record.


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