Stenson eyes Race to Dubai glory to cap great year
British Open champion Henrik Stenson said yesterday he was fit, refreshed and would turn a good year into a great one if he could cap it by winning the Race to Dubai.
Sweden’s Stenson has been bothered by what he terms “a small re-tear” in the meniscus of his right knee recently. But the world number five said it would not hamper his efforts to win one of the season’s remaining big prizes, starting with this week’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai. “Yeah it’s pretty good. It was holding up pretty good throughout the Ryder Cup where I played five games,” Stenson told AFP Tuesday about his troublesome knee.
“I had some rest before and rehab. I hope I don’t have to go through another surgery but time will tell.” The Olympic silver medallist, who won his first major this year at Troon, was speaking on the sidelines of the launch event for the $9.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions at the plush Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in downtown Shanghai. Stenson lies second in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings, 412,728 points behind leader Danny Willett.
Rory McIlroy is third, a further 643,243 points behind Stenson. Masters champion Willett has a healthy lead but there are more than a million ranking points available to the winner in Shanghai. “I need to get on a good run, I’ve got some ground to make up but there’s some big purses these last four weeks and I can be challenging for the number one spot,” Stenson said.
Stenson was also suffering on account of his knee when he arrived in Shanghai a year ago, but battled to finish tied for 11th alongside McIlroy. It was the Swede’s best ever finish in the tournament which is co-sanctioned by the US PGA, European and Asian Tours. Dubbed “Asia’s Major” the WGC-HSBC Champions this year features eight of the world’s top players and 40 of the top 50.
“It’s a great course,” said Stenson of the 7,261-yard Sheshan International Golf Course layout.
“I really like the golf course and the event has gone from strength to strength. Now we’ve got all the best players in the world here,” he added. “It’s a very prestigious event and I would love to throw my name in there Sunday afternoon and have a chance to get that trophy. “I have three tour events left here, South Africa and Dubai.
“I can make a really, really good year into an even better one, a great one, with the Race to Dubai and, hopefully, another title or so before the season is over.” — AFP
CHASKA: In this Oct 2, 2016, file photo, United States’ Patrick Reed reacts after winning the fifth hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup golf tournament, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. American golfers are traveling more than ever, and the 26-year-old Reed is taking that to an extreme. He has played 66 tournaments in the last 24 months (including the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup), and as a long and tiring 2016 starts to wind down, Reed is just getting warmed up. —AP