“Can’t be a role model”

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The Swedish Golf Association breaks with Henrik Stenson.
That after the star’s choice to go to the much-criticized LIV tour.
– He can no longer act as a role model, says General Secretary Gunnar Håkansson.

The criticism against Henrik Stenson has been massive for a few months. The Swede was selected as the Ryder Cup captain for Europe next autumn – one of the golf world’s absolute most prestigious assignments – but he has already lost that.

“Can’t act as a role model”

Stenson chose to sign on for the much criticized LIV tour, which is funded by Saudi Arabia. The tour has been called sportwashing, and an attempt to wash away Saudi Arabia’s reputation for violating human rights laws. Stenson was said to receive half a billion kroner for the change, and he has already managed to win on his new tour.

220612 Henrik Stenson of Sweden during the fourth round of the Scandinavian Mixed golf tournament on June 12, 2022 in Halmstad. Photo: Mathias Bergeld / BILDBYRÅN / code MB / MB0396

But at the same time, in addition to the Ryder Cup job, he has lost partners – and now the Swedish Golf Association is also acting. Henrik Stenson has previously been an ambassador for the association’s paragolf, and has also organized competitions in Sweden. But now the alliance with the star breaks.

– We think that Henrik, through his involvement in LIV golf, can no longer act as a role model for Swedish golf juniors. LIV golf runs counter to the sporting ecosystem we believe in. We invest a lot of money in children and young people, in the tours, in the dream of one day making it all the way and this is something we do together with Sweden’s golf clubs in a fairly advanced competition ladder, which many consider to be one of the best available within golf world, says Gunnar Håkansson, general secretary, to TT.

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“Clashes with the core values”

The Swedish Golf Association believes that the LIV tour simply goes against what it stands for.

– LIV golf is not such a place. We see it rather as a show series and then we don’t think it fits together. That’s the reason simply, it clashes with our core values ​​when it comes to sports, says Håkansson.

220606 Henrik Stenson after the inauguration of Golf’s hall of fame on June 6, 2022 in Landskrona. Photo: Christian Örnberg / BILDBYRÅN / COP 166 / CO0187

At the same time, the association is clear that it does not want to take anything away from Henrik Stenson as a golfer, but that it is not right now for a collaboration.

– No one takes away from him what he has done for Swedish golf, his successes will be eternal and I hope and believe that you can distinguish that. Those are two different things. But right now we don’t think he is suitable as a role model in our junior activities and in our para activities.

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