Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Paul Lawrie, Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari head five-man Ryder Cup captaincy shortlist after Henrik Stenson was SACKED for taking £40m sign-on fee to join golf’s Saudi rebel tour
A five-way race is developing for the European Ryder Cup captaincy after Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role on Wednesday.
In one of the most dramatic sagas in the history of the Ryder Cup, Stenson is believed to have breached the contract he only signed in March by agreeing to join the Saudi-backed LIV series.
DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and European Ryder Cup director Guy Kinnings had attempted to talk Stenson out of the switch on Tuesday, but with the 46-year-old resolved to accept an offer north of £30million from Greg Norman’s breakaway group, those efforts have failed.
Stenson is expected to be announced as a LIV player on Thursday. With only 14 months until the match against the US in Rome, Europe is now frantically considering replacements.
Sportsmail understands the shortlist includes Cup veterans Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson and Paul Lawrie, who were all in the running when Stenson was selected.
The list also features Stenson’s vice-captains Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari, though the latter is considered less likely on the grounds of Cup experience. Bjorn, the winning captain from 2018, is known to have a number of backers, as does Donald.
Henrik Stenson’s sacking as European Ryder Cup captain has sparked a five-way race
Luke Donald (right) and Robert Karlsson (left) are among the shortlist of Swede’s successor
Paul Lawrie – who was in the running when Stenson was selected – is also in the frame
The situation around Stenson has been rumoured in the golf for months, including around the time of his appointment, which he described as a ‘dream come true’.
That he has now joined the gold rush to the LIV series ranks as a seismic disruption in a sequence of many that has hit the sport since its formation.
In rubber-stamping Stenson’s departure, Ryder Cup Europe said in a statement that they ‘confirm Henrik Stenson’s tenure as Captain of Team Europe for the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy has been brought to an end with immediate effect.
The list also features Stenson’s vice-captain Thomas Bjorn, who captained Europe in 2018
The shortlist also contains the name of Edoardo Molinari, another of Stenson’s vice-captains
‘In light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfil certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe that he had committed to prior to his announcement as captain on Tuesday March 15, 2022, 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.’
Sportsmail understands no announcement will be made on the new captain imminently, though it could be decided next week.
Stenson was sacked for taking a £40m sign-on fee to join golf’s Saudi-backed LIV rebel tour
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