Henrik Stenson is many people’s choice for the Open this week and, if the Swede was to get his hands on the Claret Jug, he says it would fulfil his ‘boyhood dream’.
Stenson finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson in last year’s Open and he comes into this year’s championship having racked up five top ten finishes in a row.
Growing up in Sweden, the 2013 Race to Dubai champ was fascinated by two things: the Ryder Cup and the Open Championship, and he says winning the Open at Royal Liverpool would all but complete his career.
“I started playing golf in ’88,” said Stenson. “And I watched the Ryder Cup and the Open Championship in ’89. So I got some of my early junior memories from watching golf on television from this championship. It would mean the world to me to win this.”
“It was a boyhood dream for me to play in the Ryder Cup and the other was to win the Open. The Open Championship is a highlight of any season, and for any player, I think, especially European-born ones.”
"It’s the last thing on my CV to make it complete." - Henrik Stenson
The 38-year-old has won five times on the PGA Tour and a further nine times on the European Tour. He’s also finished top of the European Order of Merit and played in two Ryder Cups. Despite all that, he still yearns for the Open crown.
“Just because I’ve had some great success, I don’t think that dream has gone away," he said. "It’s the last thing on my CV to make it complete, more or less, in my eyes. I will try my best to make it happen.
“You’ve got to have that drive to make those things happen. I feel like I still have that.”
Henrik Stenson wants to win for his country
Sweden has a deep pool of talented players, such as Robert Karlsson, Jonas Blixt and Stenson himself. However, for all its talent, the country has never been able to celebrate a male major championship winner. Henrik Stenson wants to change that.
“It would be nice to get that one off everyone’s back," he said. “It's a bit like when there was a lot of talk about Europeans not wining majors back in ’06 or ’07, and then we cleared that up. I’ll try and get one for Sweden.”