Henrik Stenson makes
his sixth appearance in a Nedbank Golf Challenge where he has one of the most
impressive records in the history of this tournament.
Since his debut in
2006 the Swede has never finished worse than fourth in “Africa’s Major”. His
best finish of course was his victory in 2008 when he beat American Kenny Perry
by a crushing nine strokes. It ranks in the pantheon of great victories in this
tournament, led by Nick Price’s 12-shot victory in 1993.
Stenson described his
2008 triumph at the Gary Player Country Club as, “Definitely one of my greatest
But the truth is that
his ability to turn around a major slump in his career probably overshadows
Stenson was at the
top of his game in 2009 and then dropped to 230th in the world at
the start of 2012. Amidst the string of missed cuts and loss of form, Stenson
also contracted a virus while on holiday in 2011 that sapped him of his energy.
“It was a big slump.
They were really tough times. I was really lost with my game. I lost my
confidence,” he told CNN.
“The most important
thing I did was to start working on the long-term planning. When you are down
and out, it’s so easy to go for short-term solutions. The quick fixes don’t
work. I think you’ve got to put a plan in place and work towards it – slow but
steady progress – and eventually you will get to the point where you want to
Stenson reached that
point in 2013. That year he finished second in the Open, third in the PGA
Championship and then made history by becoming the first player to win both the
FedEx Cup Series and the Race to Dubai in the same season. And he did so by
winning the final tournaments on both Tours, which saw him coin this
achievement as his “Double Double”.
But it’s Stenson’s
grounded personality that has won him the most fans over the years. His sense
of humour is almost as legendary as his skill with a golf club. When he went in
FedEx Cup’s Tour Championship this year, he did so as the only player to have
finished in the top 10 in the previous three FedEx Cup tournaments, and also
the only player in the field to have won the FedEx Cup’s massive $10-million
bonus before. So it stood to reason that he was easily one of the form players
with a strong chance of victory.
But when asked by the
media about his chances in a field containing Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, he
said, “So I still have one more chance and it shouldn’t be too hard to wipe the
floor with these guys this week, right? There’s no-one that’s playing great and
is sky high on confidence and no-one with a bunch of Majors and no-one hits it
330 off the tee, so it shouldn’t be that hard.” He finished second that week.
It’s been another
season of big earnings for Stenson, but having experienced both the highs and
lows in this game, he has a unique perspective on this side of his career.
“Like someone said: ‘Money is only
paper,’ right? It’s not really going to make you much more happy or extremely
sad if you lose a bit.”
Born: April 5, 1976.
Turned pro: 1998.
Family: Wife – Emma.
Children – Lisa, Karl, Alice.
Music, movies, fishing, cars.
Career highlights: He
was the first Swede to win a World Golf Championship event when he beat Geoff
Ogilvy 2&1 in the final of the 2007 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Won the 2009 Players Championship. In 2013 he became the first player to win
both the FedEx Cup series and the Race to Dubai in the same season.
2015 highlights: Had
another consistent season, finishing second in the BMW International Open on
the European Tour. Never missed a cut on the PGA Tour this year and finished
runner-up four times for a second-place finish on the final FedEx Cup
2015 Majors: The Masters –
T19. The US Open – T27. The Open – T40. The PGA Championship – T25.
NGC record: Sixth appearance.
2006 – 2, 2007 – 4, 2008 – 1, 2009 – 2, 2014 – 4.