Henrik Stenson's advice for U.S. Open: take your medicine

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Henrik Stenson's advice for U.S. Open: take your medicine

PGA Tour

Henrik Stenson's advice for U.S. Open: take your medicine

ERIN, Wis. – Henrik Stenson hasn’t had the chance to play Erin Hills yet. He did walk 18 holes on Monday to begin his U.S. Open preparation and he plans to play nine holes each on Tuesday and Wednesday.

From what he’s gathered so far, though, he knows he’ll need to take his medicine at this week’s U.S. Open – and in more ways than one.

“This is hay fever heaven,” Stenson said during his U.S. Open press conference on Monday, “and I expect any local pharmacy to sell out of antihistamines. If you haven’t gotten yours, make sure you get them quickly. I will.”

Stenson said he forgot to take his pills Monday morning and as a result sneezed “about 50 times” before he met with the media. He wasn’t alone. Many other players battled allergies on Monday.

Of course, Stenson and the other players will also need to take their figurative medicine on the course. There are times to be aggressive, but with Erin Hills’ penal fescue and tough spots around greens and in bunkers, there are times to be conservative.

“There might be a few holes where you’ll be quite happy if you can play them as easy as possible and try to make stress-free pars and then watch a lot of my colleagues try to look for the balls in the hay and rack up some big numbers,” Stenson said. “So there is certainly that kind of balance where it will be patient and a bit more defensive, and holes you’ve got to be aggressive.”

Stenson said he expects more target golf than links-style golf this week. He also called Erin Hills’ fairways “quite wide and generous.”

“But as always, the USGA likes to trick it up a little bit at times, and if you go off track, then you’re going to notice that that’s not the place to be in a lot of areas,” Stenson added.

As for the 41-year-old Swede, this year hasn’t been his best on the golf course. He entered 2017 on a hot stretch and continued that stellar play until a WD in Mexico because of a stomach illness. He then tied for seventh in Tampa before missing three straight cuts, including the Masters.

In three starts since, Stenson has been better – T-16, T-3, T-26 – but he admits he’s still not in top form.

“I feel like maybe I’m not in full form, but I’m feeling like it’s in the right direction,” Stenson said.

He had a good 40-minute range session with coach Pete Cowen on Monday at Erin Hills, a day after arriving on a flight from Sweden.

“I felt like there was no point in standing here another hour or two,” Stenson said. “(I thought) I better go out and spend time on learning the golf course.”

For Stenson – and many others – it’s a crash-course week here at Erin Hills. Just make sure you pack the allergy medication.

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