Henrik Stenson Says Move to LIV Golf Was Partially 'Commercially Driven'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 20, 2022

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - JULY 14: Henrik Stenson of Sweden tees off the third hole during Day One of The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course on July 14, 2022 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

Henrik Stenson explained his decision to join LIV Golf in a lengthy social media post Wednesday:

Henrik Stenson @henrikstenson

<a href="https://t.co/3gTMJlM9Xd">pic.twitter.com/3gTMJlM9Xd</a>

"Clearly a part of my decision to play in LIV Golf events has been commercially driven, but the format, schedule and caliber of player were also significant factors," Stenson wrote. "I am committed to growing the game and using the game as a force for good."

Stenson was joined by Charles Howell III and Jason Kokrak, who also joined the tour on Wednesday.

Stenson was slated to be the captain for Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup, but he was stripped of his captaincy Wednesday as a result of his decision to join the Saudi Arabia-backed organization.

"In light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfill certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe that he had committed to prior to his announcement as Captain," Ryder Cup Europe said in a statement.

Stenson made his Ryder Cup debut in 2006 and has helped Europe win three times (2006, 2014, 2018). The 46-year-old won The Open Championship in 2016 and has won five other PGA Tour events.

He will now move to LIV Golf, which has already added several high-profile players, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka. Many of the players received significant payments to make the switch from either the PGA Tour or DP World Tour, with Mickelson reportedly getting $200 million, per Brentley Romine of Golf Channel.

According to James Corrigan of the Telegraph, Stenson received about $50 million to make the move to LIV Golf.

The purses for each event are also much larger than a typical golf tournament, with Branden Grace winning $4 million for his first-place finish at the recent competition in Portland, Oregon.

Sky Sports Golf @SkySportsGolf

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ "The fact that Henrik has given it up is only for one reason and that is cash"<br><br>Rob Lee discusses the news that Henrik Stenson is expected to join the LIV Golf Series. <a href="https://t.co/xJhE91Vofy">pic.twitter.com/xJhE91Vofy</a>

Stenson might have other reasons for joining the LIV Golf tour, but it's clear money played a major factor.