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'Extra motivation' as Henrik Stenson takes top prize on LIV Golf debut

Stenson beat Dustin Johnson and Matthew Wolff by two shots in New Jersey.

Stenson shot a final round of 69 to win.
Stenson shot a final round of 69 to win.
Image: Seth Wenig/AP

JOINING LIV GOLF may have cost Henrik Stenson the Ryder Cup captaincy, but it paid off immediately from a financial perspective as the former Open champion secured a bumper payday on his debut in the Saudi-backed breakaway.

Stenson carded a final round of 69 at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey to claim victory by two shots over Dustin Johnson and Matthew Wolff and pocket the individual first prize of €3.9 million ($4m).

The 46-year-old also earned €366,000 ($375,000) as part of the Majesticks team – along with Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sam Horsfield – which finished second in the team competition.

“I guess we can agree I played like a captain,” Stenson joked in a post-round interview on LIV Golf’s YouTube stream.

“It’s been a good first week obviously. Nice to be here with the guys getting a feel for it. It’s been a busy 10 days and I’m extremely proud I managed to finish as well as I did.

“Got a little wobbly at the end but that (par) putt on 17 was massive.”

Stenson was appointed Ryder Cup captain on 15 March, but the Swede’s tenure lasted just 127 days before his decision to join LIV Golf meant he was stripped of the role with immediate effect.

The 2016 Open champion had hoped to be able to continue in the position while still playing in LIV events, but a meeting with Ryder Cup Europe officials made it clear that was not acceptable.

“Yeah, it has been a bit of a roller coaster, no question,” Stenson said late on Sunday.

“I think there might have been a little bit of extra motivation in there this week. When we as players have that, I think we can bring out the good stuff. Yeah, I certainly did that this week.

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“I guess that’s been a bit of a theme over the course of my career, I think, when I really want something I manage to dig a little bit deeper, and a lot of times we manage to make it happen.”

Luke Donald, who has since been confirmed as Stenson’s replacement Ryder Cup captain, said earlier this week: “If I got this captaincy I would live up to my word and see it through. Let me put it that way. I wouldn’t be doing a Henrik.”

- Originally published at 9:26am

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