It's no secret that Henrik Stenson has fallen a long way since his breakthrough victory at the 2009 THE PLAYERS. He'll be back at TPC Sawgrass in a couple of weeks too, and one can only guess which Stenson will show up.
Stenson, who has fallen to 93rd in the Official World Golf Ranking, hasn't lost his enthusiasm for the game. He's rebuilt his swing before -- he endured years of struggle before becoming one of the world's best players -- and he might be doing it again. If anything, he won't stop trying.
“I’ve been struggling with my game for quite some time, but I hope I’ve turned the corner and it starts heading in the right direction,” Stenson told PGATOUR.COM's John Schwarb this month. “When you come back to a course you really enjoy playing and where you’ve won before, you get a lot of good memories and you can kind of build on that. I see myself doing well here again.”
Stenson shot a 68 in Round 2 that included only 20 putts -- 10 fewer than he took while shooting 78 on Thursday -- but his ball-striking continued to be a problem. He missed nine greens on Thursday and 10 on Friday.
Stenson's 20 putts were just two off the all-time PGA TOUR record, held by seven players. Two of those (Kenny Knox and Blake Adams) accomplished their feat on Harbour Town's tiny greens.
HENRIK STENSON'S SCORECARD:
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- While putting out on the 18th hole Tuesday on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Henrik Stenson playfully batted his ball back and forth on the green, smiling.
The 2009 PLAYERS Champion missed the cut last week at Augusta, shooting 83-74 to finish last among all competitors. The rest of the season hasn’t been much better, with a first-round loss in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and only two rounds in the 60s in three stroke-play events. He’s T151 in FedExCup points.
But TPC Sawgrass is a comfort zone, and Tuesday the Swede made six birdies while playing with countryman Peter Hanson (making his first PLAYERS appearance next month) and a friend.
“I've been struggling with my game for quite some time, but I hope I’ve turned the corner and it starts heading in the right direction,” Stenson said. “When you come back to a course you really enjoy playing and where you've won before, you get a lot of good memories and you can kind of build on that. I see myself doing well here again.” --John Schwarb
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Tavistock Cup, which since 2004 has been an interclub match between Isleworth’s and Lake Nona’s golf professional members, will have a different look this week.
For the first time, four clubs will compete for the Tavistock Cup, with 24 players involved in the competition. The first round of the two-day tournament at Isleworth Golf & Country Club begins in less than an hour (10:50 a.m. ET).
Monday’s format will consist of six matches of four-ball ( see schedule below). Tuesday’s competition will be singles matches.
Isleworth and Lake Nona will be two of the clubs in the competition, along with Albany and Queenwood. Albany is a new luxury resort community in The Bahamas and Queenwood is an exclusive private members’ club in the Surrey countryside near London.
Tiger Woods, fresh off his final-round 66 that bumped him up to 10th place at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship on Sunday, will compete for Team Albany. Reigning U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell leads Team Lake Nona ( team rosters below).
Tavistock Cup contestants play for prize money, team hole-in-one prizes and the title of World Golf And Country Club Champion.
The two-tournament will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel starting at Noon ET.
|TEAM ALBANY||TEAM ISLEWORTH||TEAM LAKE NONA||TEAM QUEENWOOD|
|Arjun Atwal||Robert Allenby||Ross Fisher||Thomas Bjorn|
|Ernie Els||Stuart Appleby||Retief Goosen||Darren Clarke|
|Trevor Immelman||Brian Davis||Peter Hanson||David Howell|
|Ian Poulter||J.B. Holmes||Graeme McDowell||Soren Kjeldsen|
|Justin Rose||Sean O’Hair||Henrik Stenson||Paul McGinley|
|Tiger Woods||Lee Janzen||Oliver Wilson||Adam Scott|
MONDAY’S FOUR-BALL MATCHES
|1||Arjun Atwal-Tiger Woods (Albany)||Thomas Bjorn-Adam Scott (Queenwood)|
|2||Robert Allenby-Stuart Appleby (Isleworth)||Peter Hanson-Henrik Stenson (Lake Nona)|
|3||Ian Poulter-Justin Rose (Albany)||Retief Goosen-Graeme McDowell (Lake Nona)|
|4||Brian Davis-J.B. Holmes (Isleworth)||Soren Kjeldsen-Paul McGinley (Queenwood)|
|5||Lee Janzen-Sean O’Hair (Isleworth)||Ross Fisher-Oliver Wilson (Lake Nona)|
|6||Ernie Els-Trevor Immelman (Albany)||Darren Clarke-David Howell (Queenwood)|
MARANA, Ariz. – OK. The snow that fell on Dove Mountain is all but melted so that leaves us time to ponder other things.
And the answer to the day’s most pressing fashion question is, yes, Martin Kaymer is wearing his “snood” again on Sunday.
About 30 minutes before he was to play Luke Donald for the title at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, Kaymer was standing on the range, wearing a purple sweater and a wide white belt. The scarf, which is actually called a “Buff” and manufactured by a fly fishing company in Florida, is again wrapped around his neck as it was when it caused such a stir on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Kaymer was chatting with Fanny Sunesson, who once toted Nick Faldo’s bag and now works for Henrik Stenson. She’s been the new world No. 1’s “coach” since 2008, although the two first met about seven years ago when Kaymer was an amateur and Sunesson was advising the German national team.
”She was talking about course management and strategy and some experience that she had with Nick Faldo, and I found it very interesting,” Kaymer said on Saturday. He says he learns by bouncing ideas off her.
“In the end of the day, I found the solutions by myself but only through talking to her. And the experience that she had and the right questions that she asked me, they made me to the golf player I am today. “
Luke Donald, clad all in black, was hitting balls about 10 feet away. Matt Kuchar, wearing a navy sweater, gray pants and white stocking cap, was next on the range, hitting beside his opponent in the consolation match, Bubba Watson.
Watson, dressed in gray slacks and sweater, was the first to leave the range, about 10 minutes before the scheduled 12:05 p.m. MT tip to his match. He amused himself as he walked off the range by tossing snowballs at Kuchar, who was leaning on his club, watching.
None of the snowballs came close to hitting their mark.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Lee Westwood never trailed in his match with Henrik Stenson on Wednesday during the first round of the world Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
The world No. 1 never felt secure either, though, until the 3-and-2 victory was in the books.
After all, Westwood doesn't exactly have a stellar record in the event after never advancing past the second round. Not to mention, he knows his good friend can be a formidable opponent.
"He's a bit of a false 65 in the world," Westwood explained. "When he's on his game, he's the top 10 in the world. I knew going out there it was going to be a tough game. It wasn't the highest quality game on the front nine. I don't think the golf course and the pin positions and the wind was really helping. I made four birdies around the back nine which is going to win you a few holes.
"I'm delighted to be through and tie my record for the game, as well. I'm not packing on a (Wednesday) night so I'm delighted."
Westwood gained the early edge as Stenson double bogeyed the first hole. But he made three bogeys of his own in a four-hole stretch that started on No. 4 and the two made the turn all square.
A birdie at the eighth hole finally seemed to wake Westwood from the doldrums. He added three more on the back nine to keep the pressure on Stenson and closed him out when the Swede three-putted the 16th hole.
Westwood's opponent in the second round is American Nick Watney, who has tied for sixth, fifth and sixth in his three stroke-play starts this season. Watney beat Anthony Kim 5 and 4 in the first round.
Given his history in this tournament, Westwood is hardly looking ahead, though.
"Every day is a bonus," Westwood said. "See how it goes. I'm pretty pragmatic about it after ten years. I think it will be a bonus.” – Helen Ross
MARANA, Ariz. -- Henrik Stenson won the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in 2007 and finished third in his title defense.
But then the tournament moved down the street from the Gallery at Dove Mountain to the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, and Stenson has lost in the first round each of the last two years.
"We changed courses, so my results haven't been as good as they used to be," Stenson said ruefully.
And at No. 65 in the world, the Swede actually was the odd man out this year when the field of 64 was finalized two weeks ago. But Toru Taniguchi withdrew on Saturday and Stenson got the call.
That's the good news. The bad? Stenson's opponent will be world No. 1 Lee Westwood at 2:05 p.m. ET.
"It's going to be a challenge tomorrow," Stenson said. "That's what happens when you're ranked 64 or 65, you get to play the world's best players at the moment. It's going to be a tough one.
"My game hasn't been the best the last year or so and it's a work in progress. It's moving in the right direction. I'm struggling a little bit with that. And then it's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but I'll give my best."
Stenson had just flown to Orlando from his home in Dubai, arriving on Friday night, before finding out he would get to play at Dove Mountain. He had planned to play in the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun instead.
"It was very close for me not to getting in the HBSC Championship in November," Stenson said. "And this one was even closer. I've been hanging on a thin thread now for the last two WGCs, I need to pick up some game this week or next week to get in Doral.
"So I'm right on the bubble. I was going to play anyway. I was either going to play in Mexico or play this week. This is nice to get the call on Saturday and be able to make proper plans."
Stenson, who won the 2009 PLAYERS Championship, was once ranked as high as fourth in the world. The 2010 season, though, was a forgettable one with health issues and swing problems that sent him tumbling down the rankings.
The highlight of last year was likely the tie for third at the British Open, Stenson's only top-10 of the season. The lowlight? Probably that 80th place at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the four missed cuts that followed.
"I was the one saving Tiger (from finishing last) at Akron," Stenson said. "So I had a long stretch of problems there. So that obviously doesn't help, if you're playing and you're playing sick and playing poorly and then not getting any fresh points on the board.
“So, yeah, it has taken a bit of a dip in the World Rankings, but I hope it's only one way from here on, and that's up." – Helen Ross
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
MARANA, Ariz. -- Lee Westwood has played on seven European Ryder Cup teams, posting an impressive 16-11-6 record.
But he's never gotten past the second round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Westwood has played in the tournament 10 times and owns a 6-11 record.
"Yeah, I'm wondering what Friday looks like in this tournament," Westwood acknowledged with a wry grin. "I played pretty well here, and (someone) had one of those hot days against me. That's the kind of luck I'm talking about. You occasionally run up against people that are playing well."
Few have played as well or better than Westwood over the last two years, though, and he comes to Dove Mountain this year as the No. 1 player in the world. He was scheduled to face Japan's Toru Taniguchi, who withdrew due to a neck injury, in the first round. Now his opponent on Wednesday is Henrik Stenson, who has tumbled in the rankings but still owns a victory and third-place finish in this event.
"There are no easy games," Westwood said philosophically. "You have the top 64 players in the world. … You get lucky in this format, but you also know you have to play well."
Westwood enters the Accenture Match Play Championship after a week off where he hit the gym hard. He spent Sunday in Los Angeles, doing a photo shoot for his equipment sponsor, PING, and then headed over to Los Angeles. He hit balls on Monday but was to play his first practice round on Tuesday after his interview session.
"I don't think it's changed much," Westwood said. "Good conditions, and I'm looking forward to the week. It's a nice week, different from your usual stroke play. It's exciting, you don't know what to expect, throws up some surprises.
"And the first day is probably one of the most exciting days of the year as far as golf spectators are concerned, watching all the different matches going on."
Westwood said he's not feeling pressure to live up to his lofty new world ranking. But he is having to learn to manage his time better -- and say no, "a lot." He's one of six Europeans ranked among the top 10 in the world, and he likes to new world order.
"I think time moves on, doesn't it?" Westwood said. "The world rankings aren't going to be the same forever. You've got lots of great young players coming through and I like the volatility. ... You tend to see that now that if you put a good run together, you move up. If you stay in that run, you obviously stay very high."
Even so, Westwood's No. 1 ranking is under assault virtually every time he and Martin Kaymer, the 25-year-old who is ranked No. 2, tee it up as they will this week at Dove Mountain. And both Westwood and the reigning PGA champ know there are a host of other younger with their eyes set on that prize -- not to mention, someone named Tiger Woods who wants it back.
"You've got five, six, seven players younger than (Martin) making him look like an old man," Westwood said. "Rory (McIlroy), Matteo (Manassero), Ryo (Ishikawa), all those guys in the top 64 in the world cueing up and pretty fierce and wanting more. So I think the world rankings are very good and they'll make the game of golf look healthy."
Westwood, who won the FedEx St. Jude Classic a year ago, doesn't put a lot of stock into the us-versus-them mentality that has been created with international players winning three of the four majors last year and making such big strides in the rankings. He
"No, not at all, I don't know who's driving that along,' Westwood said. "We're all out there as individuals, trying to win golf tournaments. And European golf is very strong, but it goes in cycles. ...
"You look back at the Ryder Cup last year, and we only just won that, the Ryder Cup, so often American golf is very strong, as well, and so is the rest of the world. You've got lots of good young players coming from all over. I think it's great. It's a world game."