Henrik Stenson Named European Ryder Cup Captain
THE speculation is over. Henrik Stenson has been named as Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain.
After Lee Westwood ruled himself out, it was widely expected that Luke Donald would be given the task of regaining the Ryder Cup.
Stenson’s appointment can only mean that he has decided not to throw his lot in with the Saudi-backed Golf Super League and will now lead Europe at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome next year.
Stenson said: "I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be the European Ryder Cup Captain - it is a huge honour and I was humbled to get the call confirming the news. I would like to thank the selection panel for believing in me and will say to them, and every European golf fan, that I will do everything in my power and leave no stone unturned in the quest to get the Ryder Cup back in European hands.
“The Ryder Cup is golf, and sport, at its very best. I got goosebumps every time I pulled on a European shirt as a player and that will be magnified in the role of Captain. While it is great for me personally, it is also great for my country and all the players from Sweden who have played for Europe with such distinction since Joakim Haeggman became the first in 1993.
“When I started out as a professional golfer, it was beyond my wildest dreams that, one day, I would follow in the footsteps of legends of the game such as Seve and be the European Ryder Cup Captain. But today proves that, sometimes, dreams do come true.”
Introducing the 2023 European Ryder Cup Captain ???????? pic.twitter.com/zvVYeDk8R3— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) March 15, 2022
The 2016 Open Champion has enjoyed an impressive Ryder Cup career, helping Europe to victory in three of five of his appearances as a player before going on to bring his experience to the role of Vice Captain in the 2020 edition of the biennial contest.
The 45 year old becomes the first Swede to be named European Captain and will be aiming to emulate the memorable European performance in the last home match at Le Golf National in Paris, France in 2018, and reclaim the Ryder Cup following victory for the United States at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, last September.
Stenson made his Ryder Cup debut for Europe at The K Club, in Ireland, in 2006, when he secured the winning point in a dominant 18½ – 9½ victory. He was also a member of the victorious teams in 2014 at Gleneagles, Scotland, and 2018 at Le Golf National, in France, as well as being part of the European Teams in both 2008 and 2016.
The Swede has collected 17 titles worldwide and famously became Sweden’s first male Major winner when he triumphed in The 145th Open at Royal Troon. Stenson lifted the Claret Jug in 2016 after he recorded a final round 63 in a thrilling battle with Phil Mickelson, which drew comparisons with the legendary ‘Duel in the Sun’ between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at nearby Turnberry in 1977.
Stenson was selected as Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup Captain by a five-man selection panel comprising the three most recent European Ryder Cup Captains Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke - as well as the Chief Executive of the European Tour group, Keith Pelley, and DP World Tour Tournament Committee Chairman David Howell.
Guy Kinnings, the European Ryder Cup Director, said: “Henrik has all the qualities to be a great Captain. He has an incredibly impressive golfing CV as a Major Champion, two-time European Number One and FedEx Cup winner, and in the Ryder Cup he played five times and played with distinction, including holing the winning putt in 2006 at The K Club.
“So he comes with all the credibility of what he has achieved, and as we all know a dry a sense of humour and a fantastic warm personality, but he is also a ferocious competitor. He is hugely respected by the players and admired by everyone involved with the game and the Ryder Cup.”
The two-time European Number One has amassed 11 points for Europe from his 19 matches, including a 100% record from his three matches during his last outing at Le Golf National in 2018. He partnered Justin Rose to foursomes victories over Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson on the Friday and Johnson and Brooks Koepka on the Saturday, before rounding off his perfect week with a 5&4 singles victory over Bubba Watson.
Stenson made his Ryder Cup debut in 2006, earning half a point alongside David Howell in the foursomes against Stewart Cink and David Toms on the Friday, before holing the winning putt which ensured that Europe won the Ryder Cup for a third consecutive time when he beat Vaughn Taylor 4&3 in the Sunday singles.
He played again in 2008 at Valhalla, contributing 1½ points courtesy of a victory alongside Oliver Wilson in the Saturday foursomes against Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim, and halving his fourballs match in the afternoon with partner Robert Karlsson against Mickelson and Hunter Mahan.
Stenson then formed a formidable partnership with fellow Major winner Justin Rose at Gleneagles in 2014. The pair were victorious in their three matches in Scotland, including a comprehensive 5&4 win over Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson in the opening fourballs matches on the Friday. They also defeated Zach Johnson and Mahan 2&1 in the afternoon foursomes and Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson 3&2 in the Saturday fourballs.
The partnership yielded another point at Hazeltine National in 2016 courtesy of a 5&4 defeat of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth in the Friday afternoon fourballs, while Stenson also won his singles match against Spieth 3&2.
Stenson’s impressive CV also features an Olympic Silver Medal which he won at the 2016 Games in Rio, the 2008 World Cup of Golf alongside Robert Karlsson, the 2007 WGC Accenture World Match Play Championship and the 2009 PLAYERS Championship.
In 2013 he won the PGA TOUR’s FedEx Cup and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai in the same year after winning the season ending DP World Tour Championship, a title which he defended in 2014. He won the Race to Dubai again in 2016 after claiming the Claret Jug at Royal Troon following the iconic battle down the stretch with Mickelson.
Stenson is also the co-host of the DP World Tour’s Scandinavian Mixed event alongside fellow Swedish Major Champion, Annika Sorenstam.
His 12-man European Team will face the United States team which will be led by Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters Champion and 2015 Open Champion.
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