TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 14: Henrik Stenson
This global star can rise up at any time to claim victory
December 17, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Henrik Stenson's humble beginnings
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Henrik Stenson is sneaky, whether he has a joy buzzer or a golf club in his hands. The moment you begin to forget about him, he wins.
Last year’s example, at the end of an otherwise ho-hum season, saw the 2009 PLAYERS champ birdie four of his last six holes for a one-shot victory at the Wyndham Championship, the last full-field event before the FedExCup Playoffs. Stenson’s 29 birdies not only led the field, it was six more than any other competitor made. He broke the tournament scoring record and became the PGA TOUR’s winningest male player from Sweden, surpassing Jesper Parnevik and Carl Pettersson.
The year before that, of course, Stenson authored the first major win of his career, with a final-round 63 at the Open Championship. His Sunday duel with hard-luck runner-up Phil Mickelson won’t soon be forgotten.
At 41, Stenson continues to be the consummate global player. He also won the European Tour’s Race to Dubai in ’16, and last season racked up just 15 starts on the PGA TOUR. Still, he can win anywhere, anytime. He’d had zero success at Sedgefield Country Club before winning the Wyndham, and like everyone else he had never played in Rio before capturing the silver medal in the 2016 Olympics.
You say he’s never registered even a top-10 finish at the Masters, his best a T14 in 2014? You say he hasn’t distinguished himself at Shinnecock Hills or Carnoustie, which will host the U.S. Open and Open Championship, respectively, in 2018?
None of that matters. When he’s on, he can win anywhere, anytime.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Henrik Stenson ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 25th
Playoff appearances: 7
TOUR Championship appearances: 2
Best result: Stenson won the 2013 FedExCup title
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Henrik Stenson in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Ben Everill
You can never sleep on this Swede. Opened last year with two top 10s in his first three TOUR starts, promptly missed five out of six cuts and then had five consecutive top 20s, including a win at the Wyndham Championship. Love the way he sends that 3-wood way out there with such accuracy and backs it up with a stellar approach game. We may not see him as often as others, but he’s always top value.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
Even if he could remain healthy, it wouldn't change our approach. A rib injury thwarted starts in the last two stops on the European Tour this fall, and he's still walking around with a torn meniscus in his right knee, but the Swede maintains a light schedule abroad, so he's best reserved as a complement in draft leagues. Weekly gamers shouldn't hesitate, however, even as his 42nd birthday looms on the Thursday of the 2018 Masters.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Callaway's GBB Epic driver was one of the few new additions to Stenson's bag this year. The rest of his setup remained the same over the last 12 months. Endo Forged Legacy Black irons are notable as they are only available in Asia.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Stenson remains one of the best examples of how golf apparel should fit. Everything from the length of his sleeves to the length of his pants is dialed in to perfection. Expect Stenson to push the latest fashion trends with bold geometric prints and stylish color palettes for the season.