Henrik Stenson’s defection to controversial Saudi-backed LIV series set to be sealed within 48 hours in huge blow for the Ryder Cup, as Team Europe prepare to lose their captain
- Henrik Stenson is expected to join the new LIV series in the next few days
- DP World Tour chief Keith Pelley has lost hope of talking him out of the move
- If the Swede does defect, it may affect next year’s Ryder Cup in Italy.
The defection of Henrik Stenson to the Saudi backed breakaway LIV series could be sealed within the next 48 hours.
While DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has not lost hope of talking him out of the move that would cost his European Ryder Cup captaincy, it is believed to be near certain that the Swede will join LIV.
Sportsmail understands the next batch of LIV signings will be announced on Thursday, with the expectation that the new faces will tee up for the third instalment of the series at former US President Donald Trump’s Bedminster course in New Jersey next week.
Henrik Stenson is expected to join the Saudi backed LIV series in the coming days
Capturing 46-year-old Stenson would be a huge disruption to the DP World Tour ahead of next year’s Ryder Cup in Italy.
There have also been prolonged suggestions within the sport that last year’s Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has privately committed to joining Greg Norman’s rebels.
Most tellingly, there was also no denial from freshly crowned Open champion Cameron Smith when he was asked after his triumph at St Andrews if he was switching from the PGA Tour, though Smith is considered unlikely to join until later in the year, if at all.
DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has lost hope of talking him out of the move
His fellow Australian Adam Scott is another significant name that has been targeted. With the player migration having plunged golf into civil war, Trump has used social media to implore players to take the Saudi money.
Trump wrote: ‘All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable merger with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making millions of dollars a year.
‘If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place and only say how smart the original signees were.’