• The 39-year-old finished T3 at St Andrews back in 2010
• "My expectations aren't the highest," admitted the Swede
Henrik Stenson has downplayed his expectations heading into this week’s Open but maintains the hope that he can bring his ‘A game’ to the Old Course.
The 39-year-old finished behind Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood in a tie for third the last time the Open was held at St Andrews in 2010, carding three sub par rounds en route to an eight-under-par total.
That finish in a major has been bettered just the once – a runner-up spot at the Open at Muirfield in 2013 – but heading into the week, the Swede is just going to see what happens, despite coming runner-up to Pablo Larrazabal in his last start at the BMW International Open.
"My expectations aren’t the highest" - Henrik Stenson
“It was a treat in 2010,” Henrik Stenson told bunkered.co.uk. “I played really well and just couldn’t wait to get out on the golf course and play. Hopefully it’ll be the same this time around but my status at the moment would say I’m not playing at my worst, but certainly not the best. My expectations aren’t the highest but hopefully I can bring my A game.
In an interview with ESPN at the weekend, Tiger Woods said he was ‘shocked’ at how different the Old Course was to what he expected and Stenson believes the recent weather has played its part in the course set-up, but he was full of praise for the greens.
“It’s a little bit greener and softer possibly in a few areas because of the weather that we’ve had here,” explained Henrik Stenson, who played an 18-hole practice round on Sunday. “I think the rough is a little bit less thick in areas too which could promote some really aggressive tee shots on a few of the holes.
“They’re definitely greener than you would expect in the summer time but I heard there’s been a big dump of rain within the last week or so. We can control a lot of things these days but nature isn’t one of those! The quality of the greens is probably as good as I’ve seen though.”
Stenson’s return to Scotland for this year’s Open has also brought back terrific memories of Team Europe’s Ryder Cup success at Gleneagles last September, and the Swede revealed he’s already been signing lots of Ryder Cup flags for fans at St Andrews.
"I’ve been signing a lot of Ryder Cup flags here already this week" - Henrik Stenson
“The Ryder Cup brings back great memories for me,” he said. “Obviously I was part of the teams in 2006 when we won in Ireland and I played in ’08 when we lost away. I’d been waiting six years to be on that team and the fans were fantastic and created some memories that will last a lifetime.
“I’ve been signing a lot of Ryder Cup flags here already this week and it’s still so fresh in my memory. Everyone had a great week – at least those who were cheering on Europe!”
Henrik Stenson :: Open glory?
Can Henrik Stenson break his major duck at St Andrews this week? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.