NEW YORK (AFP) – Henrik Stenson, stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy after joining the breakaway LIV Golf circuit, shook off the controversy to win the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster on Sunday (July 31).
“I guess we can agree I played like a captain,” said the 46-year-old Swede, in a dig at Ryder Cup Europe after he carded a two-under 69 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
His 11-under total gave him a two-shot victory over Matthew Wolff and Dustin Johnson in the 54-hole, shotgun start event.
Stenson was sacked as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain last week after signing with the Saudi-backed LIV circuit, which has drawn criticism from human rights activists concerned about Saudi Arabia’s record.
The circuit has additionally provoked the wrath of the established DP World Tour and PGA Tours as it lures players with massive purses and reportedly in some cases with signing bonuses worth tens of millions.
“It’s been a busy 10 days and I’m extremely proud that I managed to focus as well as I did,” said Stenson, who raked in the US$4 million individual winner’s prize from the US$20 million purse as well as a share of the US$1.5 million awarded for his Majesticks team’s runner-up finish in the team event.
Former world No. 1 Johnson, who birdied the last hole to claim his share of second with a three-under 68 for a nine-under total, captained the winning 4 Aces team. Wolff carded a seven-under 64.
The circuit, which on Friday confirmed that it had signed up two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, now takes a break until the fourth of seven events in its inaugural season, in Boston from Sept 2-4.