Former European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has little sympathy for Henrik Stenson after he was stripped of his captaincy on Wednesday over his decision to join LIV Golf ahead of the tour’s third installment next week.
Harrington, who was named captain of the European team for the 2020 tournament which was delayed a year by the pandemic, expressed his understanding for the players joining the rival Saudi-backed league but made a special exception for Stenson, who he believes made a unique commitment when he was named captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup.
“I certainly empathize with anybody that makes the decisions that they have made in terms of going to play a new tour; the financial incentives are quite impressive,” he said Wednesday via the Golf Channel. “I do think it’s different in Henrik’s case, yes. He signed a contract not to do that and was specifically asked not to do that.”
HENRIK STENSON STRIPPED OF RYDER CUP CAPTAINCY AMID LIV GOLD SPECULATION
Harrington, who is on the captain selection committee for the European Team, said Stenson’s commitment changed once LIV Golf took off.
“I have no empathy there. No, he took the Ryder Cup job when LIV was in doubt, and now that LIV is pretty much mainstream normalized, he’s jumped ship.”
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Stenson officially announced he was joining LIV Golf shortly after the European Team stripped him of his title.
“As many of you will have already seen, unfortunately, my decision to play in LIV events has triggered Ryder Cup Europe to communicate that it is not possible for me to continue in my role as Ryder Cup captain,” his statement read. “This is despite me making specific arrangements with LIV Golf, who have been supportive in my role as Captain, to ensure I could fulfill the obligations of the Captaincy.”
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He continued: “While I disagree with this decision, for now it is a decision that I accept.”
Harrington said Wednesday that with the tournament scheduled for September 2023, the committee has “plenty of time” to name a new captain.