Wednesday, 27 July 2016
British Open champion Henrik Stenson has barely had a week to celebrate winning his first major title nine days ago, but that might help him capture the PGA Championship.
The 40-year-old Swede, who outdueled Phil Mickelson down the back nine to claim the Claret Jug at Royal Troon, has enjoyed a whirlwind life since taking the crown.
“One more week would have been a good thing I believe,” Stenson said Tuesday. “But at the same time, when you’ve got the momentum and you’re playing well, it might not be bad to get straight back at it.”
Stenson will get back to work this week at the year’s final major tournament in Baltusrol. And the world number five will then go to the Rio Olympics as the top-ranked player in the 60-man field.
“I don’t think I’m going to sit back and just say, ‘OK, that was it, I’m finished,’ It’s definitely the icing on the cake,” Stenson said. “If I look at my career, to win a major championship, that was pretty much the only thing I had not managed to achieve and now I have that.
“But then at the same time, you can look ahead and then try and win another one. I’ve still got a good few years in me and I’m going to try. I still think I’ve got a bit of fight in me.”
And his share of bubbly spirits as well, admitting only one beverage has filled the jug since he won it.
“It was champagne, and it was champagne, and it was champagne. So it has been a few occasions,” he said. “There have been some memorable celebrations. I have it for a year, so there might be a few more sips.”
– ‘Grin to my face every time’ –
Stenson and his new trophy have made the rounds in his homeland.
“It has been an exciting time since we finished off at Troon,” Stenson said. “A couple of hectic days. It was huge for me, of course, but for Swedish golf, as well. We have been waiting for a male player to win a major championship and it finally happened. That was massive.
“Then I had some time with the family and of course I could every now and again give that Claret Jug a little glare and it brought a grin to my face every time.
“It’s fantastic. It’s a boyhood dream come true and something I wanted to achieve all my life and then it finally happened.”
“So yeah, I’m delighted and at the same time, we’re in the middle of a big season. So I’ve still got to try and focus on what’s ahead.”
Asked to judge the superior win between the first Olympic golf event since 1904 and the Ryder Cup, Stenson opted for diplomacy.
“If I were to say that Olympic gold is more important, then I’m going to have 11 angry teammates waiting for me outside, so I would prefer not to compare them,” he said.
Perseverance paid off for Stenson, who is at an age when few players manage major breakthroughs.
“It just shows that you have got to keep on trying. In a way, you accumulate up to it,” Stenson said. “You have got to keep putting yourself in position and the more times you do that, that’s what gives you the chances for it to happen.”
Despite his new status as a major winner, Stenson had found fame is fleeting by Tuesday’s fourth practice hole at Baltusrol.
“I had this long putt and I left it way short and someone in the stands shouted, ‘Does your husband play golf?'” Stenson said. “Shows you you’re not up there on that pedestal for very long.”
For now, he’s pleased to soak it all in, but he has already pencilled in a long post-Ryder Cup rest in October.
“I know I’m going to be sleeping for at least a week after The Ryder Cup,” he said. “That’s kind of blocked out in the calendar — just a couple of Zzzzzs next to each other for a week.”
Source by: AFP