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Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 08:44
Super-charged Stenson eyeing world No 1
By Agence France-Presse in Dubai

Henrik Stenson, the DP World Tour Championship winner and Europe’s No 1, insists that only winning a major or becoming world No 1 could top the year he has had.

On Sunday, the 37-year-old Swede won the $8 million season-ending Euro championship, thus becoming the first player to win both the FedEx Cup and the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour, and the Race to Dubai and the DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour.

Since finishing third in the Scottish Open in July, the world No 3 has set the standard in global golf, winning three tournaments and finishing inside the top-10 nine times in 13 starts across both the US and European PGA Tours.

In that period, he has amassed $17.9 million on the golf course alone, including a $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup and $1 million for winning the Race to Dubai.

Stenson acknowledged this has been a dream season for him, and when he won the South African Open exactly one year ago, he never thought all this would be possible.

“I’d be lying if I said I was thinking I would be sitting here as the Race to Dubai champion, DP World Tour Championship champion, FedEx Cup champion or the Tour Championship champion,” he said.

“Obviously, it’s been a dream year, a dream summer for me, and the season of my life. I would be lying if I said I saw all that coming.

“I don’t know how I am going to be able to top this next year, but I am going to give my best in the majors and if I can become the first male Swedish player to win a major, that would be the icing on the cake.”

Now that he is the European No 1, the next logical step would be to aim for the world top spot in the rankings.

“I’m certainly going to keep on trying. It’s going to take a lot of good golfing from where I am to reach No 1, but I’m going to keep on trying,” he said.

“I have been told that everyone who has won the Race to Dubai managed to become the world No 1 at some stage, so it wouldn’t be fair not to try.”

The other big event of 2014 is the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, and when told that he has almost clinched his place, Stenson said: “That’s one of my big goals, of course, to try to get some points on the board early for the Ryder Cup.

“Some of my greatest moments in my career are as part of the Ryder Cup in ’06 and ’08.

“So I was always going to try hard to make it back on the team for Gleneagles and it seems like if we are not cemented, we are pretty close to it. It’s going to be a great experience again and really looking forward to it.”

When asked to explain his recent run, Stenson said: “It certainly did not happen for me suddenly one July morning. This was the result of a lot of hard work that I have put into the game, along with my coach Pete Cowen and others.”

Praised poured in from all quarters for Stenson.

Former US Open winner Graeme McDowell said: “I was never going to catch him anyway, but he put in another phenomenal performance. Hats off to him, massive congratulations. He’s been the best player in the world over the last six months.”

Ian Poulter, who was beaten by six shots despite shooting 19-under par for the four days in Dubai, said: “I have to take my hat off to him. Unbelievable. I’ve tried to run him down as hard as I possibly could.

“He’s been in incredible form the past six months, and even with a sore wrist, he’s managed to continue to press on. He has played exceptional golf — flawless, to be honest with you. The guy is the hottest player on the planet right now, and all credit to him.”

 
 
 
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