Teamwork makes the dream work

Henrik Stenson calls LIV debut ‘finest I’ve performed all yr’ days after Ryder Cup captaincy stripping

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Tone deaf Henrik Stenson calls LIV Golf debut ‘one of the best I’ve performed all yr’ only a week after being dropped as Ryder Cup captain for defecting to the Saudi-backed organisation

  • Henrik Stenson carded a seven-under spherical in Bedminster in his LIV Golf debut
  • The world No 173 acquired £40million to hitch the Saudi-backed golf breakaway
  • The 46-year-old was stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy after his defection
  • The Swedish star was joyful together with his efficiency within the third occasion of the sequence 

The top of day two and a stench of irony lingers round Bedminster.

‘The most effective I’ve performed all yr,’ is how Henrik Stenson described Friday’s opening 64. This was quite extra undulating however nonetheless, after 36 holes as a paid-up member of golf’s insurgent trigger, the Swede sniffs victory. He leads by three pictures heading into the ultimate spherical; Stenson may pocket almost £4million ($4m) on Sunday.

Not unhealthy for the world No 173. Not unhealthy for a 46-year-old who hasn’t received on the PGA Tour since 2017.

It’s all quite comical as a result of, let’s be frank, LIV Golf didn’t pay £40m ($48.7m) for Stenson to win tournaments. His defection was a unadorned provocation of golf’s outdated order, an ominous assertion that proved not even the Ryder Cup captaincy would stop gamers from being lured throughout the game’s yawning fault traces.

The deposed Ryder Cup captain denied enjoying with a chip on his shoulder this week. However he mentioned: ‘It’s definitely been a busy and emotional week, no query… I’m happy with the best way I’ve stored my head down and centered on enterprise.’ 

Stenson himself made no point out of titles throughout his press convention earlier this week. As a substitute, he claimed, his head was turned by the cash – who knew? – and LIV’s crew competitors, when four-man bands compete for a separate $5m prize pot. In separate teams, however below the identical, naff, title.

Henrik Stenson referred to as his inaugural efficiency at LIV Golf one of the best he is performed ‘all yr’

Stenson received £40million to join the Saudi-backed series and his decision led to him being removed as captain from Europe's Ryder Cup team

Stenson acquired £40million to hitch the Saudi-backed sequence and his resolution led to him being eliminated as captain from Europe’s Ryder Cup crew

Stenson is a part of ‘Majesticks’, alongside Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sam Horsfield. They sit second, behind Dustin Johnson’s ‘4 Aces’.

‘I performed golf with these guys for 20-plus years, so to be teaming up with them right here this week, it is one thing I look ahead to,’ Stenson mentioned of Westwood and Poulter. ‘We at all times had numerous enjoyable collectively and I might think about that may proceed.’

Collectively, they’ve stitched a lot magic into the Ryder Cup tapestry.

Alas, defection may imply exile from future matches. Now the problem is to make recollections in Majesticks blue.

Stenson is part of LIV Golf's Majesticks alongside Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter

Stenson is a part of LIV Golf’s Majesticks alongside Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter

Luke Donald is to be announced as Stenson's successor as Europe's Ryder Cup captain

Luke Donald is to be introduced as Stenson’s successor as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain 

Thus far, these battles with ‘Iron Heads’ and ‘Fireballs’ have been quite misplaced in LIV’s competition of greed and gaudiness.

Thus far, the idea has appeared little greater than one other sideshow – one other excuse to cash to the purse – in a undertaking the place golf can really feel like a conduit. An afterthought, even.

This week has made clear, nevertheless, that LIV see their crew competitors as a significant level of distinction, an innovation that may assist maintain this breakaway when preliminary intrigue and outrage start to wane. Repeatedly in Bedminster, gamers shoehorned it into solutions. 

Take Phil Mickelson. ‘I discover how folks prefer to determine with a crew quite than simply people,’ he mentioned. ‘That is one thing I do not absolutely grasp how large that could possibly be.’

It hasn’t helped that, at this level, crew members are being shuffled round because the solid checklist modifications.

Subsequent yr, LIV will broaden to a 14-tournament league that includes 12 fastened groups.

Phil Mickelson claimed 'people like to identify with a team rather than just individuals'

Phil Mickelson claimed ‘folks prefer to determine with a crew quite than simply people’

The hope is that these groups will ultimately turn into an avenue to convey cash in. LIV plan to promote them – very similar to in Method One – and to construct them into manufacturers, with ‘fairness being held by the league (and) by the gamers.’

‘Groups get valued, groups get offered. We’re introducing that idea,’ claimed LIV chief Atul Khosla.

Even with Majesticks vs 4 Aces finely poised, this stays a good distance from the world – and the groups – Stenson has left behind.  


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