Lee Westwood supports Henrik Stenson to make his way into the Ryder Cup 2023 squad

Lee Westwood supports Henrik Stenson to make his way into the Ryder Cup 2023 squad

Lee Westwood supports Henrik Stenson to make his way into the Ryder Cup 2023 squad

Lee Westwood supports Henrik Stenson to join the Ryder Cup 2023 team - GETTY IMAGES

Lee Westwood supports Henrik Stenson to join the Ryder Cup 2023 team – GETTY IMAGES

Henrik Stenson will definitely not be at next year’s Ryder Cup as Europe captain, but he could be in Rome as a player.

Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter both supported the Swede to make the team after his stunning debut in the LIV Golf Series on Sunday earned the Brits a huge payday in Bedminster.

Stenson joined the Saudi rebel circuit just two weeks ago after being stripped of the post of European captain after just 127 days, a decision that left him saddened and “extremely disappointed”, despite breaking a contract he had signed containing the clause that he could not sign up for a rival tour.

No one has addressed a prayer to world number 171 at Trump National yet, after a press conference here Thursday where he looked drawn and tired, Stenson somehow produced an opening 64 and then followed it up with two 69s to emerge as a thread. winning conductor of the line in the 54 holes.

So in addition to his £ 40m signing fee, Stenson also has £ 3.65m in his overflowing back account.

Westwood and Poulter also benefited from the fact that they were part of the same ‘Majesticks’ team as Stenson, meaning they both won £ 307,000 more to go with their individual checks of £ 532,000 and £ 213,000 for getting there. Sixth and thirteenth respectively.

“It was a great performance from Henrik, full of nerve and skill,” Westwood said. “He was afraid to see the media on Thursday, but as soon as it happened it cleared his mind. I am disappointed with what happened to him with the Ryder Cup, because we have had captains before they have played on other tours. Padraig [Harrington] did it last time, as he is a member of the PGA Tour. What’s different with LIV?

“But if we look ahead now it will be interesting to see what happens with our entry into the DP World Tour and whether we remain eligible for Ryder Cup qualifying points. Because if we do, there is no doubt that Henrik, in this form, could make your way into the team.

“He’s only 46. I played last year’s game at 49. I don’t know politics and I would like them to make a decision about our position, but I can tell you with certainty that if Henrik is back to his best or even getting close to his best and his game is in this kind of nick, then as a European you would like him to be a team in Rome ”.

Henrik Stenson of Majesticks GC takes an approach shot to the 17th hole on the third day of the LIV Golf Invitational - GETTY IMAGES

Henrik Stenson of Majesticks GC takes an approach shot to the 17th hole on the third day of the LIV Golf Invitational – GETTY IMAGES

Polter agrees. “A Henrik Stenson who shoots all cylinders is a great asset to the Ryder Cup team in Europe,” he said. “The performance was so brave, but he worked hard and started playing good again and when he can get those three woods and those irons to work and the putter obliges, then he can be unstoppable. I don’t know how it will turn out, but politics should have nothing to do with that when it comes to fielding your best team in the Ryder Cup. And Henrik comes in every time.

Luke Donald is expected to be announced as Stenson’s replacement on Monday afternoon and it will be interesting to hear the Englishman’s verdict following the blow to his former teammate last week. “I’m not going to do a Henrik,” Donald said. “I would like to live up to my word and carry it out.”

It will also be interesting to hear Donald’s views on the qualification system and whether he believes LIV rebels should be allowed to appear at the Marco Simone Country Club as Europe tries to win the lost trophy with a record score of 19-9 at Whistling Straits 10 months ago.

While LIV lawyers manage to ensure that the DP World Tour cannot issue bans, Donald and the Tour could easily bypass the normal process and make 12 captain picks. The qualifying race usually starts in September, but it’s all in the air right now. “I’m not sure they know what to do,” Westwood said.

The PGA Tour has granted LIV players indefinite suspensions, making the likes of Brooks Koepka ineligible for the Ryder Cup, as is. However, a legal challenge to these sanctions is foreseen.

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