Number crunching: Why Henrik Stenson considers 2016 his best year ever

Henrik Stenson poses with the Claret Jug on the 18th green following his victory during the final round of the British Open. (Getty Images)

Number crunching: Why Henrik Stenson considers 2016 his best year ever

PGA Tour

Number crunching: Why Henrik Stenson considers 2016 his best year ever

(This is the eighth in a 10-part series examining some of the notable movers up and down in the 2016 Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings.)

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RANKING/MOVEMENT: + 2 (No. 5 to 3)

Henrik Stenson had “the best year of my career.” He made history by becoming the first Swedish male to win a major, outdueling Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon to win the British Open. Not too shabby for the player who won the season titles for both the PGA Tour and the European Tour in 2013.

The British was one of two victories Stenson notched in 2016, along with the BMW International Open, after going winless in 2015. He also won the silver medal in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and he won the European season points race a second time.

A look at Stenson’s European Tour stats show he improved in key parts of his game compared to 2015. He was almost a stroke better with a scoring average of 69.14 compared to 70.07 in 2015. He also was a stroke better on the greens, averaging 29.53 putts per round compared to 30.50 in 2015. On the PGA Tour, he went backward somewhat with his putting to a negative strokes gained: putting average, but he remains one of the game’s premier ballstrikers with a strokes gained: tee-to-green average of 1.553, meaning his long game is more than 11/2 shots better per round than Tour average.

“I putted better throughout the year, that would be one thing,” the 40-year-old said when asked what made the most difference toward his European success. “There have been weeks where I haven’t been striking it that great, but I would say the short game and putting has been holding it together.

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He said it

“As a professional, you look at your game and you work on your game, and you are just trying to make small little changes and just to become a little more consistent to maybe make that half-putt to a putt every day, which makes a huge difference when you sum it up every week.”

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