Sunday, July 17, 2016

This one's for Sweden, says Stenson

With one of the most stunning performances in the history of The Open, Henrik Stenson claimed the Claret Jug for his own at Royal Troon today and then declared, “This one’s for Sweden."

It has been a long time coming for Stenson and the country of his birth, but in the end the wait to win The Open was more than worthwhile. 

Jesper Parnevik, his countryman, had twice come close, but this time there was to be no faltering over the finishing stretch. Anybody who witnessed Stenson’s battle royale with Phil Mickelson – who threw everything he had at the 40-year-old Swede – will never forget what unfolded on the famous Ayrshire links. Put simply, it defied belief. Stenson played 36 holes with Mickelson over the weekend and likened it to a prize fight. 

They traded shot for shot, blow for blow, and pulled away from the rest of the field as if they weren’t there. The winning margin was three strokes, which is something in itself, but the gap between Stenson and J B Holmes, in third, was an incredible 14.
If Mickelson, who started the day one stroke behind, had been offered the 65 he scored before setting off in the final round, he would almost certainly have taken it. No one could have predicted that Stenson would better it by two and claim victory by three, setting a record-breaking score for the Championship of 264.
Parnevik, who led by two heading into the final round at Troon in 1997, but lost out to Justin Leonard, was watching from afar and rooting for his countryman. 

“Good luck this weekend Henrik Stenson,” Parnevik tweeted. “Finish off what I never did. Sweden has waited long enough.” He need not have worried.
“I felt like this was going to be my turn,” said Stenson, who had previously had three second place finishes and six thirds in Major Championships.
“Right now I’m running on adrenalin. It makes it even more special to beat a competitor like Phil. He’s been one of the best to play the game. So to come out on top after such a fight with him over these four days makes it even more special.”
Needless to say, Stenson felt intense pride at becoming the first Swede to become Champion Golfer of the Year. “I feel very privileged to be the one to hold this trophy,” he said.
“There have been many great players from my country who have tried and there have been a couple of really close calls. This is going to be massive for golf in Sweden.”
One of the most popular and humorous players on tour, Stenson never wastes the chance for a joke. Asked to place his win in the context of other life experiences, he compared it to passing his driving test.

 “Given that I failed my driving test probably as many times as I was second or third at Major Championships, that one has to be higher than this,” he joked.
More seriously, he added: “No. I think the birth of my three children and then winning The Open.” To which a voice called out: “Good answer.” It was his wife Emma. Not for the first time, his timing had been immaculate. 

Mickelson says that's the best he has ever 

played without winning

  Phil Mickelson can hold his head high as he boards the plane to go back home to the United States 

The 46-year-old left-hander produced some marvellous golf as he closed The 145TH Open with a seven under par 65 only to be out-gunned by playing partner Henrik Stenson’s record-breaking form.

“That’s probably the best I’ve played and not won,” declared the 2013 Champion Golfer of the Year. “It’s disappointing but at least I don’t have to look back and regret something I’ve done.
“It was a challenging day but I’m happy for Henrik,” he added. “He’s a really great champion. We’ve been friends for some time. I’ve always thought he was one of the best ball-strikers in the game and that Major Championships should suit him.
“I always knew he would ultimately come through and win. I’m happy that he did but disappointed he did it at my expense.”
Mickelson’s second place finish marked the 11th time he had been runner-up in a Major Championship and took him past Arnold Palmer on that list but still behind well behind Jack Nicklaus who has no fewer than 19 of those near-misses to his name.
The popular American will get his next chance to claim a sixth Major Championship at the US PGA Championship in two weeks’ time but in the meantime he was keen to praise The R and A for the manner it had set up Royal Troon for the Championship.
“I think the R and A sets the golf course up to be as fair as possible and to try to identify the best player, regardless of what the final score might be,” he said. 
“Sometimes it’s 20 under. Sometimes people don’t go that low under par.
“The fact is if someone shoots incredible golf he deserves to score 20 under par,” he added. “You shouldn’t have to mess with the course too much to control the score.” 

The total prize fund for the Open was raised to £6.5million. 
Here's what the top 11 finishers earned from the R and A:

1 Henrik Stenson       £1,175,000
2 Phil Mickelson           £675,000
3 J B Holmes                 £433,000
4 Steve Stricker             £337,000
T5 Rory McIlroy           £235,666
T5 Tyrrell Hatton           £235,666
T5 Sergio Garcia            £235,666
8 Andrew Johnston        £170,000
T9 Dustin Johnson         £134,500
T9 Soren Kjeldsen         £134,500
T9 Bill Haas                   £134,500




Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google