By Daniel HICKS
Axed Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson said Friday he hoped the LIV circuit and the PGA Tour could co-exist in peace one day soon and golf would become “a little less hostile”.
The Swede was effectively sacked as Team Europe Ryder Cup captain after he joined the lucrative Saudi-backed LIV last year.
But the 2016 British Open champion welcomed Rory McIlroy’s admission this week that the PGA Tour’s top golfers were benefitting from the emergence of rival LIV and Stenson now hopes for a thaw in relations.
“I hope for everyone involved that we can end up in a place where everyone can co-exist and it’d be a little bit less hostile than it has been as of late,” the 46-year-old told AFP by video link ahead of the Asian Tour’s Hong Kong World City Championship later this month.
McIlroy, one of the staunchest defenders of the PGA Tour in its feud with LIV over the past year, admitted before this week’s Players Championship in the United States that the launch of the upstart tour had forced the US-based circuit to innovate.
The PGA Tour has responded to the emergence of LIV by announcing its own money-spinning no-cut events, starting from the 2024 season.
Fellow former Ryder Cup star and Stenson’s LIV stablemate Ian Poulter, who will also tee up in Hong Kong at the $1 million event, said there was room for everyone on the global golf calendar.
“That is always the bigger picture and the way we see LIV playing is as an addition to the game of golf,” the 47-year-old Englishman told AFP.
“I love the format. I love the creativity. We’re now getting the acknowledgement from players and other people that, you know, LIV is here to stay and that’s a good thing.”
Stenson said that “change is hard” in a sport steeped in tradition.
“And you know, some people like it, some people don’t,” he said.
“It’s been some rocky times, but I think it’s all kind of coming together and we’ll see where we end up in a year or two.” — Agence France-Presse