ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Beware the Ice Man. He might be about to come out of a minor thaw.
Much was expected of Henrik Stenson last year after his breakthrough major win in 2016. The Swede’s Open Championship victory at Royal Troon made him the first Scandinavian male to win a major, and seemed to suggest a banner 2017.
The 41-year-old Stenson never really got out of fourth gear. Victory in the Wyndham Championship and runner up finishes in the Dubai Desert Classic and WGC HSBC Champions may have pleased others, but it wasn’t the sort of year many expected of the strong Swede.
“It was a little similar to the Spring of 2014,” said Stenson, who in 2103 became the first player to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai. “Obviously when you have a great run like I had in 2013 and 2016, it takes a lot out of you mentally more than anything.
“I kind of feel the same on both occasions, that the steam kind of ran out a little bit. Last year it did for me.
“In March and April, I was not much use on the golf course. Picked up things again and managed to get a win at the Wyndham Championship.
“I’m still pretty happy with my 2017 season. I think it was about 20 guys who accumulated more world ranking points. If you’re not quite up to speed over the year and still can stay around those numbers, I think you’ve done it pretty good.
“I’m pretty excited about my season, my scheduling, because I play a lot of golf now early. Then I have a longer patch where I can be at home and practise and then try and rev it up for the Masters.”
A little event in Paris later this year has added to Stenson’s excitement.
“I’ve played on four Ryder Cup teams, and I’d love to be there in Paris.
“It’s there in the back of your mind. If you ever need a little bit of a kick in the butt to go out and practise and contend, you don’t need to think too long about that when you have that on the horizon.”