Henrik Stenson - Race to Dubai champion (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson has been named The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year after an astonishing season.
The 37 year old from Gothenburg became the first player from Sweden to win the coveted award after creating history by completing an unprecedented transatlantic double by capturing the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and The Race to Dubai on The European Tour International Schedule following his success in the Tour Championship and FedExCup on the PGA TOUR.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “There is absolutely no doubt that Henrik Stenson is a fully deserving winner of The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year award. Henrik’s unprecedented success was the result of the most tremendous consistency and hard work, and to finish it all off in such style at the DP World Tour Championship to secure The Race to Dubai was quite remarkable.”
Stenson’s commanding six-shot victory in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship offered a perfect microcosm of his season as he tamed the immaculate 7,675 yards Earth Course by missing only five fairways and four greens in compiling rounds of 68, 64, 67 and 64 for a tournament record 25 under par total of 263.
After winning the South African Open Championship at the end of last year, Stenson embarked on a “dream season” which saw him produce a remarkable level of consistency in golf’s biggest events.
A tie for second place in the Shell Houston Open earned Stenson a place in The Masters Tournament where he finished in a tie for 18th place. “I took a lot of confidence from winning in South Africa and then the performance in Houston which got me in the Masters was another big one in terms of the way the season was shaping up,” said Stenson.
More consistent play – including being tied fifth in The Players Championship in Florida – took Stenson into the summer and a tie for third place in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open set the tone for an incredible run of results that would see him become the best player on the planet for the rest of the year.
Stenson finished second at The 142nd Open Championship, quickly followed that up with a tie for second at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational then a third place finish at the US PGA Championship with which he led The 2013 Race to Dubai.
Then came the start of that transatlantic double which would earn him a place in golf’s record books. Stenson charged to victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship then two weeks later claimed the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola to win the FedExCup.
Next on the agenda came The European Tour and The Race to Dubai’s inaugural Final Series. A tie for seventh at the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was followed by
one of the greatest performances in European Tour history in Dubai, where he claimed Number One honours and earned the Harry Vardon Trophy.
“It’s a big honour to be voted The European Tour Golfer of the Year,” said Stenson. “It just reflects the stellar year I have had. You can call it a dream season, year of my life, whatever you want. It has been an unbelievable year and I am delighted to win this award, especially as I am the first Swede to do so.
“You look at the past winners of this award and most of the greats of European golf are on there, which just adds to the prestige of winning it. To win the FedExCup and the American Tour Championship in some style and then follow that by taking The Race to Dubai was very special.
“Winning the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, where I had made my home for ten years, in the style I won it, in front of so many family and friends, was something I will never forget. I’m not sure how I top it to be honest. I am not sure many people will get the chance to do what I did this year but I just need to keep working hard and pushing forward.
“The Majors are the biggest goal for me now and if I can continue to play at the level I have been then I feel I can have a pretty good shot at them.”
The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year panel, which featured golf journalists from newspapers and magazines as well as commentators from radio and television, also reserved praise for several other worthy candidates, specifically Justin Rose, who became the first Englishman for 43 years to win the US Open Championship after his unforgettable performance at Merion in June.
But Stenson, who was announced as the winner at the annual Golfer of the Year Luncheon at the Lancaster London Hotel, received the unanimous vote from the panel to succeed Rory McIlroy.
Derek Lawrenson, Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers and Golf Correspondent of The Daily Mail, said: “The 2013 season was another remarkable one for European Tour golf and quite simply a dream year for Henrik Stenson. To be the unanimous winner of The European Tour Golfer of the Year in a season which saw Justin Rose win his first Major Championship really speaks volumes to Henrik’s frightening level of consistency.
“I cannot recall a more devastating performance in a European Tour event than Henrik’s at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. He was playing at a different level to the rest of what was a truly world-class field and is unquestionably The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year.”
Iain Carter, Golf Correspondent for BBC Radio Five Live, added: “When Justin Rose won the US Open so brilliantly at Merion I thought well that’s one thing sorted – The European Tour’s Golfer of the Year. Little did we know the quite astonishing run of form that Henrik was about to embark on! So while Justin’s was the greatest single achievement of the year there can be no question that Henrik Stenson was The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year.”