Former Open champion and axed Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson downplayed any animosity between himself and Luke Donald during the third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
Eyebrows were raised when the Swede and the Englishman were drawn together with Tyrrell Hatton, as Donald had taken the role of European Ryder Cup captain for 2023 after Stenson was removed for joining LIV Golf.
We were set for a fascinating dynamic on Sunday at Emirates Golf Club, but as was the case with tee-gate earlier in the week, the reality of the situation wasn't near as tense as anyone thought it would be.
"The only thing I would say is that I was surprised I wasn’t announced as the former captain!" Stenson said, as reported by Martin Dempster of The Scotsman.
Stenson shot 2-under par on Sunday to reach 4-under for the week. He is set to make the 54-hole cut as the tournament heads into a Monday finish due to severe weather delays in the first round.
If the @rydercup is mentioned in my group tomorrow morning https://t.co/MN1ABmmyCF— Tyrrell Hatton (@TyrrellHatton) January 28, 2023
Donald will miss the cut after carding a 74 and he also gave his initial thoughts after his round with his former Ryder Cup teammate.
"No, there were no problems at all. You guys like to make it a storm in a teacup. There were no issues. It was just like we were playing a normal round," he said.
It has been a week of teacup storms in the Middle East as Rory McIlroy also used this phrase to describe his altercation on the driving range with Patrick Reed.
Hatton made fun of the pairing yesterday by sharing a tweet of Homer Simpson falling into a bush, referring to if the Ryder Cup was mentioned. The six-time DP World Tour winner can certainly expect to be playing for Team Europe against America in Italy in September.
LIV Golf players are still allowed to play on the DP World Tour, but with the hearing with Sports Resolutions UK on the horizon, we could find more clues about their eligibility and their potential Ryder Cup participation too.
A number of LIV players are currently challenging at the top of the leaderboard. Reed, Richard Bland and Shaun Norris are all in contention as the end of round three draws nearer.