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July 28, 2022

Sam Horsfield

Ian Poulter

Henrik Stenson

Lee Westwod

Bedminster, New Jersey, USA

Trump Bedminster

Press Conference - Team Majesticks

THE MODERATOR: We are joined this morning by Team Majesticks. We have Ian Poulter, we have Lee Westwood who is our captain this week, and we have Henrik Stenson who is our new joiner to Team Majesticks, and we have Sam Horsfield.

Welcome, guys.


THE MODERATOR: First event where it's not an all-English team. Lee, how are you going to perform this week with the Swede?

LEE WESTWOOD: I don't know how we are going to perform, but certainly Henrik is a valuable addition to the team. Looking forward to seeing him play this week; as captain, he's got me to answer to.

So yeah it should be exciting. It's a fantastic venue. Brilliant golf course. Really looking forward to playing here at Bedminster and seeing the team perform well and hopefully getting on the podium.

THE MODERATOR: Henrik, what are you most exciting this week, your first week with LIV?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I've been back with some of my old friends, and new. I played golf with these guys for 20-plus years, so to be teaming up with them here this week, it's something I look forward to. We always had a lot of fun together and I would imagine that will continue.

THE MODERATOR: Ian, Sam, this is now your third tournament playing on a team. How has that changed the dynamic for you guys out there each week?

IAN POULTER: Well, it's great. Obviously we get the opportunity to have been able to have done that over two-year periods, but to do it every week that you pitch up and play adds a new dynamic to coming out, week-in, week-out. It's an opportunity for us not to just play single golf. Be a good group of individuals that can beat a strong team.

As the teams now are starting to strengthen, we are going to have to up our game to make sure we factor week-in, week-out. It's a great format. We all love team golf, and it's something we are super excited about.

SAM HORSFIELD: Yeah, you know, for me, it's very, very similar to playing college golf. I find myself on Sunday looking up at the leaderboard and rooting for your teammates, and wanting them to play well. You know, you're out there grinding every shot to try and do well for the boys, so yeah, just try and do that.

Q. What did you see in the first two events, and what kind of discussions did you have with the players that may have swayed your decision to join LIV?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, I think one of the big benefits that we talk about here is just like yesterday, practise round, the four of us played together. It gives just a different dynamic, really, and team aspect is obviously a big part of that.

Like Sam said, you are playing individually. I mean, it's individual golf tournaments, but it's also, yeah, that kind of fight to try and perform for the team, and you can be out there on the last day, we've seen that already happen; that players might not have the best week individually. But you can make a huge difference for the team if you go out on the final day and shoot a good number, and that could really help out a team. So it's always something to play for in that sense.

Yeah, it just feels good to be part of that environment.

Q. Did you and Henrik have some discussions about coming on to the team in the last couple weeks?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, we've had discussions. You know, once Henrik became available, you know, he seemed like a good fit for the team. It wasn't a difficult decision.

Q. Initially directed to Henrik. As you mulled coming over here, what was the weighing regarding Ryder Cup captaincy? Were you immediately aware that you were giving that up, and you know, doesn't seem like a very good look obviously if you knew you were going to give that up. How soon did you -- were you mulling this stuff when you were -- when you were in your captaincy -- when you were given captaincy in March, for starters?

HENRIK STENSON: I don't feel like I've given it up. I made every arrangement possible here to be able to fulfill my captain's duties, and I've had great help here from LIV to be able to do that. And still, the decision was made that I was to be removed.

I'm obviously disappointed over the situation. But it is what it is, and yeah, we move on from there now.

Q. Did you speak to them, you know, the powers at The Ryder Cup on your side, on your end, prior to making this decision? Did they tell you you would be stripped of your duties?

HENRIK STENSON: Sorry, say again.

Q. Before you signed on here, did you speak to the European Ryder Cup side, and were you aware you would be stripped of your duties if you came here?

HENRIK STENSON: We had -- we had discussions and I informed them of the decision to go and play in LIV tournaments. They had a -- had a short period of time where they were kind of discussing or debating if what was going to happen, and I was informed of their decision shortly after.

Q. And if I could just ask as a follow, for Lee and Ian, both of you guys have made such a career of The Ryder Cup, obviously Ian, you have probably built most of your reputation on that. Can you address kind of where European Ryder Cup, the state of it is right now with so many of you guys over here, and obviously them taking their side on this?

IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean, we're not sure right now where the qualification criteria sits. I believe we're still all eligible to play. No decision has officially been made as far as I'm aware.

I think the criteria is in three weeks' time, we start qualifying, but yet we still don't have a definite answer to what that is going to actually look like. So we haven't been given that level of information yet.

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I mean, I'm still eligible to play on The European Tour. I don't think I've been banned from playing any events. The (BMW) PGA Championship is still my next event on The European Tour at Wentworth. I've had no correspondence on that. That's an event, a qualifying event, for the European Ryder Cup Team.

So you know, no decision's been made on qualification for the team, and my future or any of our futures playing The European Tour. So that leads me to believe that we're still eligible to play in it, unless you can tell me otherwise.

Q. Henrik was stripped of his duties as captain -- coming here -- (off mic.)

LEE WESTWOOD: I would hope that the European Tour would make a decision sooner rather than later. It's only fair for everybody whether they play on the LIV Tour or on The European Tour, or on The European Tour and the PGA TOUR to know where they stand as soon as possible, yeah.

Q. Henrik, can I just clarify, did you sign a contract with Ryder Cup Europe when you took the position that stipulated basically that you couldn't join a rival tour?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, the contract between the captain and Ryder Cup Europe is obviously a private contract, and I'm not going to go into detail on what's in that contract.

Q. Okay. And it's been reported that Luke Donald is going to be the next captain. Just wonder what you think about that as an appointment?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, that's -- that's news to me. If that's -- is that something that's been announced just as we walked into this room, or ... I mean, I'll wait. Obviously I'm not in the loop on these things at this point.

Yeah, I don't feel like I should comment on that until that's official news if that were to be the case.

Q. One last thing. In your statement, you said that you'll accept it "as of now." Did that mean that you could even think about a legal route or anything on this?

HENRIK STENSON: On my statement, last week, as you clearly have read, I just expect to be treated fairly going forward depending on what the outcomes are in this whole case, and that is yet to be -- yet to be seen what decisions are to be made and when we'll -- when we will be notified of anything like the boys are saying here, qualification and vice captaincies and all the rest.

So up until that point, we just wait for European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe to make those announcements.

Q. This question is for Ian. How many strokes do you gain per round by wearing plaid pants, and can you break 80 in khakis?

IAN POULTER: I hope you like the outfits, because you know --

Q. I do.

IAN POULTER: I love that, too. Strokes per round, sometimes they add to that pressure and sometimes it makes me perform better. Some would say otherwise. I have worn a few rascal outfits through the years which have put me under too much pressure, but that sometimes is a good thing.

Q. I'm a big fan.

IAN POULTER: Thanks. Khaki, I don't generally wear khaki, no.

Q. I was wondering if you guys could give some clarification on, like, when Henrik was added to the roster and who made that decision? Is that a team decision or LIV decision? When did you become aware that he was available and who made the call to swap Henrik for Laurie?

IAN POULTER: It's extremely recent and Henrik is a fantastic addition to this team. As he's said, we have played for 20-plus years together and as soon as Henrik made himself available, he was a great asset to this Majesticks team.

HENRIK STENSON: I feel the pressure to make birdies now.

Q. You have won Swedish golfer of the year five times. Because of that, do you think you could help get IKEA as a sponsor for LIV, and could you give me some free furniture?

HENRIK STENSON: I'll give you as much furniture as you need if you put it together.

Q. Your statement that you made about joining LIV obviously was very long. How much was the financial component an element of it, and was that the main driver behind it, I guess?

HENRIK STENSON: I mean, I'd say I've been a golf professional since very late 1998, and purse sizes, prize money on offer, financial part's always been a part of where we made up our schedules and where we are going to play. It's been a part of it, absolutely. It was no different in this case.

Q. I know you're still hopeful of playing in The Ryder Cup and you're not sure what the future holds, but I just wondered, in the days since your decision whether you regret or you've got any feel on kind of what your decision has caused in terms of the uncertainty about The Ryder Cup and the conversations that it's sparked about it's future?

HENRIK STENSON: I obviously feel like it's a shame that we ended up in this situation, and I just hope that we can get a resolution as soon as possible here for all tours and everyone involved, and we can all kind of co-exist together.

Yeah, all the players love The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Yeah, it's just a shame we ended up in this situation. I hope for a quick solution.

Q. A lot of people will inevitably put the blame at your feet, fairly or unfairly in your mind, but who do you blame for this current situation that we find ourselves in with the uncertainty?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, I'm not really here to sit and put blame on anyone. I think it's more interesting to find a solution and moving forward rather than dwelling too much on why we ended up in this situation.

Q. This is for all of you gentlemen. As you know, one of the stories we're following are the family members of victims of 9/11 who have taken great exception with your presence here. I just wonder what you would say to them in response -- I don't know if justify is the right word -- but to explain why you've decided to play for LIV and how you can reconcile that decision with the hurt that they are feeling?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think we can just say that our hearts goes out to anyone who lost a loved one in that terrible tragedy. That's all we can say, really.

Q. I wanted to ask about yesterday's announcement by LIV for 2023, 14 tournaments, franchises instead of team. What was your reaction?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it's an exciting development. Obviously it's nice to have everything rolling into a league starting next year, earlier than anticipated. It's fresh. It's new to golf. I personally think it's something that golf needed outside the major championships and the heritage tournaments and the team events, i.e., Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.

Outside of those, golf needs something different. You know, obviously I'm sat here, so I'm all for it. It's a fresh new idea, and I think a lot of people are looking forward to see something different.

IAN POULTER: Yeah, the franchise opportunity, to see 12 teams move into their positions for 2023, 14 events, global schedule, big prize funds is something that obviously has been fast-tracked with everybody taking their positions.

And it's extremely exciting. The bigger picture of golf and the addition of 14 events into the global schedule we have is something I think can fit with all the other tours. The landscape in golf is looking good.

Q. You're giving up or potentially giving up what many believe is the greatest team event in sports, The Ryder Cup, to play in an event with names like team Majesticks and crushers. Curious what you would say for fans who are skeptical of this; that you're passing on what is obviously a great team event for something that on paper looks made up.

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, we'd be speculating right now because no decisions have been made, have they. You know, should you maybe ask the powers that be to make decisions and then come back to us and ask that question.

Q. There seems to be a lot of animosity between some of the senior players and Keith (Pelley) and the way he's handled the situation, the sort of lack of dialogue. Can you just comment on, have you tried to have conversations with him and have those all been rebuffed?

IAN POULTER: I don't know about the senior players that have had any of those conversations. So it's -- you'll have to enlighten us.

Q. Well, as in, have some senior players tried to approach Keith or Guy Kinnings, like Paul sort of mentioned yesterday; there hasn't been much sort of dialogue. Like do you want more dialogue to try and work out a peaceful resolution to this?

IAN POULTER: We've spoke with Keith and Guy numerous times over 2022, and you know, their position is their position. I'm happy to have a discussion with the guys but they haven't come forward to do so.

Q. I notice that your wife is caddying for you sometimes. If you have a bad round, are you sleeping on the couch or do you have to get a separate hotel room?

LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I snore quite a bit, so sometimes the golf isn't even an issue as to where we sleep.

But no, once the golf's over and done with that day, we don't take it home.

Q. That's very mature.

LEE WESTWOOD: Thanks. I'm mature. I'm nearly 50.

Q. Some of the details have come out in terms of --

LEE WESTWOOD: Could you -- thank you.

Q. Some of the details have come out in terms of what will be happening next season and so forth with 14 events. Things like relegation and such. What do you all hope is the end game to this? What do you all hope this leads to?

LEE WESTWOOD: The league or the relegation part?

Q. Your involvement in playing in this, where do you ultimately hope this lead to for golf?

LEE WESTWOOD: I think it's something new and fresh for golf, like I said before. You know, I'm all for competition. This is clearly competitive to the other tours out there. I think it's a good thing that they are having relegation and promotion into it. As it's stated and laid out, it's probably something you're not too used to in U.S. sports. We're more used to it with Premier League football and things like that.

You know, it's going to add another exciting part to what is already an exciting concept.

Q. But as more players continue to join LIV and then you have PGA TOUR players; the TOUR has made their stance clear. There is a divide in the game. What do you ultimately think golf will look like in the future?

LEE WESTWOOD: I don't know. I don't know what it will look like next year.

I'd like the best players to be playing competitively against each other as often as possible.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys, so much. And welcome, Henrik, to LIV.


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