Stenson joins LIV, booted as Ryder captain

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Henrik Stenson was stripped of Team Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy, a few hours before the Swede announced that he was joining the lucrative Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The 2016 British Open champion helped Europe to victory in three of his five Ryder Cup appearances as a player, including the last home tournament at Le Golf National in 2018.

Stenson, 46, was also vice-captain to Padraig Harrington at Whistling Straits last year and had been tasked with regaining the trophy following Europe's record 19-9 defeat to the United States team in Wisconsin.

"In light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear he will not be able to fulfil certain contractual obligations," Ryder Cup Europe said in a statement on Wednesday.

"And it is therefore not possible for him to continue in the role of captain.

"Confirmation of the new 2023 European Ryder Cup Captain will be made in due course."

Stenson later confirmed on Twitter that he would play in the third LIV Golf tournament of the season from July 29-31 in New Jersey at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

"My interest in this concept has been well documented over the past few years," Stenson said.

"And despite some of the unfortunate and ongoing tension between LIV Golf, the DP World Tour & PGA Tours, the opportunity to play in LIV events moving forward is something that I want to experience.

"Like many of my fellow professionals, my hope is that my decision to play in LIV events will not restrict me from playing on any tour."

Stenson said he was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy despite making specific arrangements with LIV Golf, who he said had been supportive of his role and willing to ensure that he could fulfil his obligations.

"While I disagree with this decision... it's a decision I accept," Stenson added.

"I have huge respect and admiration for the Ryder Cup and those individuals behind it who I know are doing their utmost to act in the best interests of the historic event."

LIV Golf later announced that world No.36 Jason Kokrak and three-time PGA Tour winner Charles Howell III have also joined the series and will make their debut in the New Jersey event.

The US and European based Tours have banned and fined anyone joining the LIV Series.

Six-times major winner Phil Mickelson, former world No.1s Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka as well as former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau have all joined the LIV series.

Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, LIV Golf held its first event in London last month which was won by South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, who pocketed the $US4 million ($5.8 million) prize, the biggest pay cheque in golf history.

Critics of the new series say it amounts to 'sportswashing' by a nation trying to improve its reputation in light of its history of human rights abuses.

The Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy hosts the next edition of the biennial Ryder Cup starting in late September next year.

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