Deja Vu All Over Again
You may recall that in 2013 Henrik Stenson finished his scorching PGA Tour season by winning the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs, and then just 6 weeks later crossed the pond and captured the European Tour’s ‘Race To Dubai’. For his efforts he won a shitload of money. 2014 wasn’t as good to Henrik, but he did play well in a few majors and his game seems to be on the rise again as the Euro season winds down. To that point, Stenson showed up in Dubai this week with no chance to win the overall Race To Dubai (already clinched by Rory McIlroy), but he must have felt pretty good about his chances to defend the DP World Championship.
With Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Victor Dubuisson hot on Stenson’s heels, Henrik needed to stay aggressive in the final round to fend off his challengers. Three under through his first 7 holes gave him a nice margin to work with, but a bogey at the 8th and a dumb double at the 11th brought his peers right back into the mix. On the 17th hole, virtually tied with McIlroy, Stenson hit his shot of the season which resulted in an easy birdie and a one shot lead going to the 18th tee. Here’s the shot:
That’s a big set of brass ones my friend. But he didn’t let up there, he knew he could still be caught because the 18th provides an eagle opportunity as it is a shortish par 5. Stenson played safe off the tee with a 3 metal and laid up short of the green after finding the rough from the tee. A tidy wedge shot to about 12 feet and a bonus birdie gave him a two shot victory.
Last year at this time Stenson was sitting on a pile of money from his great play, but was completely exhausted chasing Fed Ex and Dubai points all around the globe. Now he’s probably looking for a place to play next week because he’s rested and sizzling hot on the course again. The Morning Drive guys speculated that Stenson’s big win and recent form will be a spring board to a major break through in 2015. I’m not ready to go that far. What did his great play in 2013 lead to? Stenson doesn’t putt well enough to seriously contend at the Masters. If you’re looking for him to get it done at a major next year, think U.S. Open at Chambers Bay or the Open Championship at the Old Course.
Here’s one last thing to chew on regarding Stenson’s last two season’s from the Golf Channel’s Jason Sobel.
It is also no coincidence that Henrik’s world ranking plummeted at that same time five years ago. When you’re distracted off the course, you can’t play well on it. The short course you have to play inside your head isn’t set up that way. No matter what happens next season, I think it is safe to say Henrik isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He’s a fucking robot of a ball striker, almost like a blonde haired blue eye Vijay Singh (except not a dickhead). Get used to seeing him win if you haven’t already.
Rory took six week off before Dubai to enjoy the spoils of his brilliant season. He earned it. That being said, he showed up to the DP Championship (sounds like a porn thing, doesn’t it?) as rusty as you’d expect. Still, he played well enough to have a shot on the final hole to catch Stenson. Look at the break he got off the tee.
He only made par after that fortunate kick. He didn’t deserve to win. Justin Rose had an interesting day himself. The tweet below shows where he hit one of the all time recovery shots from. The Golf Channel showed him hit it, then a ball just appeared on the green.
If you want to see that one too, let the video above of McIlroy continue into the following clip provided by the Euro Tour social media folks.