I’ll have to admit, after I watched Henrik Stenson hit his 5-wood to the 18th hole in Dubai last December, I didn’t think anyone on the planet could beat this guy. After all, not only did he win the FedEx Cup championship at East Lake, he was able to become the first person in history to win The Race To Dubai in the same year.
The guy didn’t win a major in 2013, but he won all of the money. The wins pushed him to number three in the world rankings, and I had a problem with why he wasn’t number two.
I’ll have to admit, when he came back from a break after the Tour Championship, he didn’t get off to a stellar start in the Race To Dubai playoffs, but he finished well.
I was a little disappointed when Stenson made his way back to the US this spring. He was an early out at Dove Mountain and I wasn’t surprised because he doesn’t like the course.
I’m sure if you took a pole, you would find that most of the pros don’t like the tournament or the course. Then he missed the cut at The Honda the following week and finished T16 at Doral.
The fact of the matter is, when Henrik Stenson takes time off, it takes him a while to get back in sync. I’m sure there was huge a huge demand on his time after the 2013 season was over, and his golf game looked like he had spent more time touring talk shows then he did on the practice range.
He was having trouble keeping his driver in the fairway, he was shanking irons, and his putter looked like it was lost somewhere between his hometown of Gothenburg Sweden and his home at Ilseworth in Orlando. But at the Arnold Palmer Invitational everything looked to be clicking again. He finished with a solid T5.
If you look at 2013, it was at Bay Hill where we started to a look at Stenson. He had a first round out at Dove Mountain, and missed the cut in Palm Beach. Sound familiar? He wasn’t eligible at the time for the WGC-Cadillac and finished T 39 at the Puerto Rico Open. Then there was a T8 at Bay Hill, and a T2 in Houston.
Most people remember the playoff battle between Billy Horschel and D.A. Points at the Shell Houston Open, but tend to forget that Henrik Stenson was in that playoff as well.
After Stenson missed the cut at The Wells Fargo I thought maybe he just had a mini rush, but then came a T 5 at the Players, a sole second at the Open Championship, a T2 at The Bridgestone and a solo third at the PGA.
So fans take a deep breath, I think Henrick Stenson has the problems with the big stick figured out and will have time now to work on the putter.
I would look for the 37 year-old Swede to be in contention at all of the major championships in 2014 and stand by a projection I made earlier in the year that 2014 will be the year he picks up his first major.
I don’t think he plays Augusta National very well, but look for him in the US and British Opens, especially knowing Tiger and Phil are struggling with health and swing issues.
I think Henrik Stenson will find a way to win a major in 2014, and overtake Adam Scott for that number two ranking, and if Tiger doesn’t get well soon, a run at the top spot.