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Stenson's redemption story could be completed at the Masters

By: | Thu 10 Apr 2014 | Comments

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

BARELY two years ago, Henrik Stenson was ranked 230 in the world and was licking his wounds, having been conned out of a huge part of his life savings by crooked financier Allen Stanford. Incredibly, if he wins The Masters on Sunday, he will unseat Tiger Woods as World No1.

But first he has to sort out his record at Augusta. He  has never finished better than joint 17th in eight visits, while he has three top-three finishes in The Open and three-top six finishes in the US PGA Championship to his name.

The 38-year-old knows his game is not in the shape which saw him become the first player to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season last year, but is equally aware that such achievements from a hectic schedule have taken their toll.

“That’s definitely been a challenge and a little bit Catch-22,” Stenson said. “You’re not rested and you’re not really where you want to be with the game, so you’re trying to practice and move forward in that department. But then at the same time, you need rest.

But I feel a bit fresher. Last month with staying more at home and playing a home tournament in Orlando and so on, it feels like I’ve got a little bit more energy back.

Of his Masters record, Stenson added: “I think that’s why I keep coming back and then feeling like I should do better, because it’s a golf course that fits my game if I’m playing well. I don’t feel like I’ve been here firing on all cylinders, really. The first couple of times you’re here more to learn than maybe challenge for the best finishes.

“In 2009 I played really well but I putted poorly on the Saturday and that kind of put me out of the mix completely. But then I said to some of the Swedish media I feel like something good is around the corner anyway the way I’m playing and the Players Championship [victory] came about a couple of months later.

“A couple of years ago I was in the mix as well but I wasn’t playing that good tee-to-green. But hopefully we learn from a couple of bad rounds and I can have my best Masters to date this year.”

Stenson is one of three players who can replace Woods this week, with Jason Day needing to win and defending champion Adam Scott requiring joint third, with no more than one other player, or better. Joint second or better, again with no more than one other player, would see Stenson claim top spot, but the former Ryder Cup player is more concerned about becoming the first male Swedish player to win a major.

If I have a chance to win, I’ll be just focusing on that,” he added. “The other thing would be a nice bonus that comes with it. I’m more concerned about winning tournaments than setting new records for myself on the rankings.

“But of course, when I pack up the clubs one day, to have been ranked No 1 in the world at some point, I guess it has a nice tone to it. I could live with that.”

Derek Clements is a sports journalist with a particular passion for golf with over 12 years of experience covering golf and other sports including Chief Sub-Editor on the sports desk of The Sunday Times. To contact Derek email direct via [email protected]

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Tags: PGA Tour Henrik Stenson european tour

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