Golf’s man of the moment Henrik Stenson is targeting a Major Championship breakthrough and the World Number One spot as he looks to somehow improve upon his glorious 2013 season by beginning the defence of his Race to Dubai crown at this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.
Widely recognised as the best player on the planet after a six month run of form that saw him win three times to claim both The European Tour’s Race to Dubai and the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup, the 37 year old Swede believes he can achieve even more in the game, providing he remains at the peak of his powers and stays injury free.
“The Majors are the next step for me,” said Stenson at the Gary Player Country Club. “I’ve won great tournaments on both the PGA and European Tours. I won both the Order of Merits and played in the Ryder Cup; I won the World Cup with Robert Karlsson for Swede and I’ve pretty much achieved everything in the game that I want to, except for winning a Major.
“I’m 37, so I’m looking at a good three, four, five years ahead of me if I can stay healthy, to try and win one of the big ones.
“I must keep on working on my game and following up on a great season. There are a couple of traps and I think expectation is one of them. Another is handling my time. The demand for my time is probably five times as much now as it was six months ago. When you’re flavour of the month everyone wants a piece of you. It becomes quite hectic outside of golf and if you don’t get rest and practice in then it will show up in your game. It will be key to look after those areas.
“I feel like I can win any of the Majors if I play well. The one that would possibly mean the most to me would be The Open Championship. Being European, The Open and the Ryder Cup were the ones I watched growing up. Those were the ones, but Augusta is also a very special place. The US Open is potentially the toughest one and the US PGA is a strong field.
“The good thing for me is that I seem to play some of my best golf in tough conditions on tough golf courses. The Majors are the toughest tests that we encounter throughout the season, so that sets up pretty well for me.”
Stenson is currently at a career high of third on the Official World Golf Ranking but he knows he can overtake Adam Scott and Tiger Woods at the summit if he can continue his astonishing form.
“I would love to get to World Number One. It’s definitely in reach if I continue with the form that I’ve played with since the summer but it’s going to take some good golf and what’s going to take me there is to not watch what Tiger and Adam are doing. I have to continue doing the things that I’ve done to produce these results.”
Stenson will start his bid for world domination at the magnificent Gary Player Country Club in Sun City on Thursday, where he will be among the biggest stars in an elite 30-man field who will be competing for a US$6.5 million prize fund.Joining Stenson are many of the world’s best, including home heroes Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen as well as US Open Champion Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and defending champion Martin Kaymer.