Ryder Cup 2023: Four contenders to replace sacked Henrik Stenson as captain

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Europe will need a new Ryder Cup captain after Henrik Stenson (right) was stripped of the role (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)
Europe will need a new Ryder Cup captain after Henrik Stenson (right) was stripped of the role (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

Team Europe will need a new captain for next year’s Ryder Cup in Rome after Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role amid reports linking him with the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

The 46-year-old is understood to be on the verge of signing up for the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV Golf Series and, after discussions with Ryder Cup Europe officials, the decision was made to effectively sack him as captain.

Stenson’s appointment in March had appeared to end speculation about his involvement in the Saudi-backed breakaway as he insisted he was fully committed to the role.

But in a massive blow to the DP World Tour, of which players must be a member to compete in the Ryder Cup or captain the European side, the former Open champion signalled his intention to joined LIV Golf in a move which extends the deepening rift in the men’s professional game.

Here we look at some possible contenders to replace the Swede.

Thomas Bjorn

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

The experienced Dane could slip seamlessly into the role having done it as recently as 2018, when he inspired Europe to their brilliant victory in Paris. He had been due to serve the team again as a vice-captain and indeed was the first deputy to be appointed by Stenson for the 2023 event. Has reportedly taken quite a strong line against LIV rebels.

Luke Donald

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

The former world number one played in four Ryder Cups between 2004 and 2012 and did not finish on the losing side. He had been one of the initial favourites for the job before the European Tour opted for Stenson. He expressed his disappointment at the time but could now find himself in the position after all.

Robert Karlsson

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Stenson’s compatriot was another of the leading contenders to succeed the 2021 skipper Padraig Harrington. He has twice experienced playing in the event in 2006 and 2008 and served as a vice-captain in the last two matches.

Edoardo Molinari

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

An outside bet but, as an Italian, one who would be a popular choice with the home fans. The brother of 2018 star player Francesco Molinari, the 41-year-old was a member of the victorious side at Celtic Manor in 2010. He had also been appointed as a vice-captain.

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