Like many Europeans, Henrik Stenson grew up dreaming of winning The Open Championship, and his present form indicates he is poised for a major breakthrough in his career.
When asked what keeps him motivated at today’s press conference, Stenson said, “I grew up watching this championship and it was a boyhood dream to play in the Ryder Cup, and the other one was to win the British Open, The Open Championship. So just because I’ve had some great success, I don’t think that dream has gone away, and it’s the last thing on my CV to make it complete, more or less, in my eyes. So I will try my hardest to make it happen.”
After a rocky start to the season, Stenson is in position to fulfill his aspirations at Hoylake. He has four top-10 finishes on the European Tour since the end of April, and he finished T4 at the U.S. Open. In addition, Stenson has passed the links golf test with three career top-3 finishes at The Open, including a second place finish to Phil Mickelson last year.
As always, Stenson’s presser was a mixture of strategy and humor. He is grouped with Tiger Woods and Angel Cabrera for the opening rounds, and suggested Tiger is losing sleep over the pairing. He also said he would like to break Tiger’s record of hitting only one driver in the ’06 Open by hitting two drivers.
Henrik plans to joke with Tiger on the course, but it shouldn’t get in the way of his ultimate goal. He started practicing at Hoylake last Friday, and will be looking to stay patient throughout the tournament.
“The Majors are the toughest test mentally, I’d say, in the golfing calendar. And you’re going to make mistakes, and it’s how you bounce back from them. That’s always been a key, and I think that’s always a tough thing for a player, not just me in particular. You’ve got to have a fresh mind when you start the week. If you’re already tired, that patience is going to run short if you do make mistakes and hit some bad shots and get off to a bad start. And chasing has never been the formula for good success here, either. It’s just one of them to be mindful of, and really prepare yourself when you start the tournament. It’s going to be a long four days and you’ve got to keep your patience.”