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Henrik Stenson has cast doubt on the chances of him retaining his Open Championship title at Royal Birkdale next week.

The Swede, who put on a golfing masterclass at Royal Troon last year to defeat Phil Mickelson in one of the greatest Open duels of all-time, says he is unhappy with the state of his game and has been for a while now.

In particular, Stenson is concerned about his long game, the part where he showed such consistency last year to fend off the American to claim his maiden major title.

“I know I’m not really where I want to be in my game,” admitted the Swede after finishing the Scottish Open with a four-under-par 68. 

“The long game hasn’t been in good shape for a long time. I don’t feel I have enough game to play the way I want to, and as soon as you go into practice mode you are losing the possibility to play your best. It’s a tricky one.”

Henrik Stenson1

Stenson headed straight for Royal Birkdale upon the conclusion of his round and added that, regardless of where his game is at, he plans to savour the experience of rocking up at the Southport links as defending champion.

“I’m still going to enjoy next week,” he added. Who knows? It might be my only Open as defending champion.

“I think that’s the most important thing coming into an event like this, not feeling that you’re playing anywhere near 100%. Maybe we can turn things around a little bit but I need to step it up quite a lot.”

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