Rory McIlroy claims Henrik Stenson’s move to LIV Golf was ‘the best thing that happened’ to Europe’s Ryder Cup team – despite wanting £400m Saudi-defector Jon Rahm to remain part of the setup
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  • Rory McIlroy took aim at Stenson for LIV Golf move after Jon Rahm joined him 
  • He said his move was ‘the best thing that happened’ to the Euro Ryder Cup team
  • The Spaniard joined rebel circuit in  astonishing £400m move last week 

Rory McIlroy took a swipe at his old Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson by claiming his move to LIV Golf was the ‘best thing that happened’ to his Europe team.

The sport has been shaken by news that Jon Rahm has joined the Saudi tour in a £400million deal – despite his previous insistence he would never sign the breakaway league.

The Irishman had been reacting to the news about Rahm and said he wanted the rules to be changed so the Spaniard could still participate in the Ryder Cup.

However, he was not as understanding about Stenson’s own move last year – which saw him sacked as Euro captain – after golf pundit Lou Stagner asked if he would change the rules to include the Swedish star too. 

‘I wonder if @McIlroyRory also wants to change the rules so Stenson can captain the team?’ read the tweet.

Rory McIlroy took a swipe at Henrik Stenson over his decision to join LIV Golf last year

He said it was 'the best thing to happen to the 2023 Euro Ryder Cup team'

Rory McIlroy took a swipe at Henrik Stenson over his decision to join LIV Golf last year 

McIlroy responded: ‘The best thing to happen to the 2023 Euro Ryder cup team was Henrik going to LIV!’ 

Golf’s civil war has created a massive rift between the Northern Irishman and his former European Ryder Cup compadres, including Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. 

Poulter and Westwood were among the players to reply to McIlroy’s post on X.

‘Guys calm down …. This is a parody fake account,’ Poulter sarcastically said. ‘Rory McIlroy wouldn’t say this. it’s fake I promise you. He is a class act and wouldn’t say that about a Team mate.’

Westwood quoted McIlroy’s post and added: ‘Nice to see the season of good will in full swing! Merry Christmas!’

He also replied to Poulter’s post, joking: ‘I remember my first beer!’ 

Rahm’s own move has prompted a massive U-turn from McIlroy – the PGA Tour’s staunchest loyalist – on his LIV Golf stance.

‘It’s hard to sit here and criticize Jon because of what a great player he is and the experiences I’ve had with him but all I would say is that I will be disappointed not to play against him more regularly in the future,’ he told Sky Sports. 

‘Jon is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so because of this decision the European Tour are going to have to rewrite the rules for Ryder Cup eligibility, there’s no question about that. I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood both replied to McIlroy's post about Stenson on X

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood both replied to McIlroy’s post about Stenson on X

‘The thing I’ve realized is that you can’t judge someone for making a decision that they feel is the right thing for them.’ 

He added: ‘Is it disappointing to me? Yes but, the landscape of golf changed on June 6 when the framework agreement was announced. 

‘And I think because of that it made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV a little bit easier for guys. They let the first guys really take the heat. 

‘This framework agreement basically legitimized what LIV was trying to do and I think it’s made it easier, if that’s really  what you want to do.’ 

His comments come despite urging the European Tour to rewrite the ruled to allow Jon Rahm to play at the Ryder Cup in the wake of his move to the Saudi circuit

His comments come despite urging the European Tour to rewrite the ruled to allow Jon Rahm to play at the Ryder Cup in the wake of his move to the Saudi circuit

McIlroy’s comments come as a stark contrast to his dig at Europe’s LIV rebels ahead of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone in September. 

‘It’s certainly a little strange not having them around,’ Europe’s figurehead said. ‘But I think this week of all weeks, it’s going to hit home with them that they are not here, and I think they are going to miss being here more than we’re missing them.

‘I think this week is a realization that the decision that they made has led to not being a part of this week, and that’s tough. The landscape in golf is ever-changing and more dynamic, and we’ll see what happens and whether they will be part of it in the future.

‘I always thought leading up to this week is when it’s going to hit home that they are not going to be here.’

JON RAHM’S HISTORIC LIV GOLF DEAL 

Jon Rahm is set to become the highest paid athlete on the planet after agreeing his sensational deal with LIV Golf

The Spaniard is guaranteed a minimum of £400m ($500m) from his deal with the Saudi-backed platform. 

LIV’s prize money for each of its 14 competitions next year is north of £3m. 

As a result, his earnings could rise to more than £450m ($570m), depending on his performance on tour.





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