Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Henrik Stenson hopes to finally clinch elusive Abu Dhabi Golf Championship crown

Swede has been unable to win here despite playing every year, but he says he is better prepared for this year's edition

Henrik Stenson, centre, has played in every edition of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
Henrik Stenson, centre, has played in every edition of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Given that Henrik Stenson fired the course record in the third round of the inaugural tournament, has been here every year since, and has won multiple times in the desert besides, it is reasonable to wonder quite how the Falcon Trophy has managed to evade his grasp.

The Swede will start his 14th consecutive attempt at winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA when he tees it up alongside Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen at 7.20am on Wednesday.

He has been a runner up in the capital twice before, and has also had a string of top 10 finishes. That represents a fair run at the competition, but he is hopeful he can depart on Saturday night with some swag, too.

“I feel like I have had the same answers to the same questions every year now for the past couple of times,” Stenson said.

“It is always tough winning golf tournaments, and it is equally as tough to try and guess when it is going to happen.

“But I was pretty pleased with how I played on the back end of last year, and have some time to prepare this week. We will try and make it happen this year.”

As a former UAE resident, Stenson feels at home in this country, and it has shown in his results having won the Dubai Desert Classic once, and the DP World Tour Championship twice.

“It always feels good to come back to this part of the world, having made it my home for quite a few years in the past,” Stenson said.

“It is the way I have started my year every year for all 14 editions. It is kind of the ‘same old’ but it is good to be back.”

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Familiar he might be with the old surroundings, but Stenson, like the rest of the field, is beginning a new learning process with regards to the alterations to golf’s rule book.

The sport’s lawmakers have introduced a variety of modifications designed to modernise the game, and Stenson suggests they may take some getting used to.

“Most of the things are there to make it easier, better and quicker,” Stenson said.

“At first it is going to be a learning curve for everyone, we are going to have to spend some time getting to know the ways of dropping, and how to address certain situations on the golf course.

“Once we have, that is going to be the norm, and we won’t think what the rules were 10 years ago. It is a constant development.”

Updated: January 14, 2019 06:52 PM

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