x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Henrik Stenson wins $10m FedEx Cup and now has sights on Race To Dubai title

Swede finishes with 13-under 267 overall score to beat Jordan Spieth by three strokes, giving him Tour Championship and Dh5.14m payout.

Henrik Stenson became the first European to win both the FedEx Cup and The Tour Championship. Tannen Maury / EPA
Henrik Stenson became the first European to win both the FedEx Cup and The Tour Championship. Tannen Maury / EPA

ATLANTA // Having twice plunged to extraordinary depths in his career after scaling impressive heights, Henrik Stenson savoured double satisfaction on Sunday after winning both the Tour Championship and Fed ExCup honours.

The Swede clinched the PGA Tour’s season finale by three shots after a 2-under 68 on a hot, muggy afternoon at East Lake Golf Club. He matched his previous career best when he climbed to fourth in the world ranking yesterday.

Stenson’s fourth career triumph on the US circuit also earned him the eye-popping FedEx Cup play-off bonus of US$10 million (Dh36.7m) and capped an astonishing run of form since July, featuring six top-three finishes in eight starts worldwide.

“Confidence can turn around very quickly in this game, but it can take quite a long time as well,” said the Swede, 37, who won the DeutscheBank Championship earlier this month.

“Every player, no matter how good or bad you play, you still have to kind of battle certain feelings, certain times, certain shots you don’t like, and it’s no different for me. It’s just been a great summer, way beyond what I could imagine.

“The play that I have performed since mid-July has been incredible,” added Stenson, a former Dubai resident whose hot streak includes two wins, a runner-up spot at the British Open and third place at the PGA Championship.

However, it has twice been a long road back for the Swede, who won the biggest title of his career at the PGA Tour’s 2009 Players Championship at Sawgrass, but struggled for form for much of 2001 and 2002, and again during his 2011 campaign.

“It’s been a lot of hard work and a couple of changes,” he said. “I went back to my old sports psychologist last summer and put a more of a long-term plan in place for all the different areas of the game.

“It’s been some good work there that’s starting to pay off, big time. It wasn’t like you wake up in the middle of July and you start playing fantastic. I put the work in during the spring.”

Asked what getting back to No 4 in the world ranking means, Stenson replied: “It says that I never give up.

“I went from way, way back down in 2001 and got back up to No 4 the week after my win at Sawgrass in 2009, so I’m obviously touching my personal best there.

“If I keep on playing well, I will have a chance, I guess, later on in the year to be able to improve on that.”

Stenson is looking forward to a four-week break before he sets his sights on trying to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai title to complete a unique double of topping the seasonal points lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Race to Dubai culminates with the DP World Tour Championship at the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, starting on November 14.

“That’s obviously next on the horizon,” said the Swede, who is followed in the Race to Dubai rankings by Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose. “Thankfully, I’ve got a whole month now where I can rest and enjoy this incredible run that I’ve had.

“Then have some time to get back into get some good practice down before I head out to the BMW tournament in Shanghai there on October 19. I’m in a great position for winning the money title in Europe. Again, it’s going to take some good play.

“I’m going to try my hardest to accomplish that. No one’s won the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai. Luke [Donald] and Rory [McIlroy] won both the money titles. We’re going to give that our next shot.”