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Stenson resigns from European Tour after sanctions

Axed Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson has resigned his European Tour membership after golf chiefs imposed further sanctions on players who competed in LIV Golf and Asian Tour events without permission.

The European Tour, known as the DP World Tour, confirmed the sanctions on Thursday, saying 26 players had been punished on a “case-by-case” basis.

Fines range from £12,500 ($15,600) to £100,000 for each breach of regulations. Suspensions of up to eight tournaments were also handed out.

Last month the Tour won its legal battle against 12 players who had appealed against being fined £100,000 and suspended from the Scottish Open for playing LIV Golf’s inaugural event in June 2022. 

Sergio Garcia is the only player not to have paid that fine.

Stenson, who was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy after joining the Saudi-funded rebel circuit last year, told Golf Digest: “It is sad that it has come to this, but it is what it is and it certainly wasn’t unexpected.

“They left me with no other choice so I have resigned. That’s it. I don’t really feel like it will do any good to dig into this too deeply.

“I’m appreciative of what the Tour has done for me over the years. But they have chosen how they want to view the future. And we have obviously done the same. Unfortunately, they don’t go together at this point.”

Stenson joins Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Garcia and Richard Bland in resigning. They will not be eligible for reinstatement until they pay the fines. Suspensions will apply from that point.

The former British Open champion said his fines were “anywhere between £50,000 and £75,000 per LIV event” but was reluctant to go into more detail.

The Swedish player, 47, had been due to lead the European team at the Ryder Cup, which starts on September 29 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

Saudi-backed LIV Golf began last year with several big-name players jumping to the upstart circuit for record $25 million purses and 54-hole events despite concerns over human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.

The US-based PGA Tour banned LIV players from its events and a legal fight is set for a 2024 trial, but major tournaments have allowed LIV players who qualify to compete.

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