By Jeremy Ellwood published
Henrik Stenson told us in early 2013 that The Players Championship in 2009 was his best final round ever. We suspect that may no longer be the case...
We caught up with the 2016 Open Championship champion, Henrik Stenson, back in early 2013 as he was finding his feet again after a slump over the previous two or three years...
When your game hasn’t been as good for a while, do you always believe it is going to come back or do you sometimes fear it won’t?
I never really doubt my ability. Obviously it can be frustrating when you go through long periods of time where you don’t perform the way you know you can perform. So it’s more the frustration of not getting it together as well as I know I can. I’ve proven to myself and everybody else many times that I can compete with the world’s best when I’m playing good and I’m up for it. Of course you’re going to get frustrated when you don’t deliver, but the only recipe is hard work and trying to make things simple.
Have there been times when you haven’t been up for it?
Well, it kind of goes hand in hand. When you feel like you’re struggling, I mean it’s no fun. You’re travelling halfway across the world and feel like you’re going into a Formula 1 race and you’ve only got second gear with you. It’s like, ‘how fun is it going to be to fight it out like crazy for 30th?’ I think when you’ve been out here as long as I’ve been - and most of the other guys who’ve been out here 10 or 15 years would agree - and you’ve won a number of tournaments, that’s the buzz you’re looking for – you want to be up in contention. You know you’re never going to win all the time, but you want to have a chance to win.
How good a player was the Henrik Stenson who won The Players Championship in 2009?
Well, it was a fantastic last round obviously. One of the best, if not the best final rounds I’ve ever played and I think that one gave me the confidence I could win any tournament against any field. I shot a bogey-free 66 on a very difficult day on a difficult golf course. That gave me the confidence that if I can put myself in a similar position in a Major Championship, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to pull it off. So that was a nice boost I got from that win. It’s just a question of getting it all together at the right time.
Henrik finally got it all together at the right time in a Major at Troon, 2016, and we think that that 66 in 2009 at The Players may no longer rank as the best final round Henrik has ever played...!
Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...
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