World No. 4 golfer Henrik Stenson talks about the upcoming DP World Tour Championship.
Professional Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson is known as one of golf’s wackier characters, but despite his at times unorthodox approach to the game (more on that later) he has seen a return to form of late. Now ranking world No. 4, and currently leading the Race to Dubai, Stenson is in prime position to steal to victory when the race culminates in the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Thursday November 14 to Sunday 17.
The former Dubai resident will be one of the top 60 golfers on The European Tour to battle it out at the club’s Earth course, with eyes on a prize fund of US$8 million (Dhs29 million). For spectators, whether you’re a life-long follower or new to the sport, the event offers a brilliant series of days out, with a championship village featuring golf trick shot artist Jeremy Dale, free lessons, chill-out zones and plenty of food and drink options, followed by live music from local bands at the end of each day. The best bit? Entry is free every day. Ahead of the big event, Stenson reveals how he’s been getting ready for his return to the dunes.
You’re currently leading the Race to Dubai. What has given you your edge this year?
I have played very well over the summer months, and the great thing was that I was playing so well in the big events that count both on the PGA Tour and The European Tour – I came second in The Open Championship, second in the WGC Bridgestone invitational and third in the US PGA. My solid play comes from good work put in over a long time and the results really showed.
You’ve previously worked with a ‘mind guru’ to help with your game – how instrumental do you think that was to your return to form?
I went back to my old coach that I worked with in my amateur days up until 2008. He knows me really well both as a player and as a person. We look at all the different technical, strategic, social, physical and mental aspects and make plans for each one – long term ‘process thinking’ has been key.
How much of golf is psychological, and how much physical?
It is impossible to give a percentage; it varies from time to time and from player to player. We know that you can’t perform at a high level if you do not have both to some degree. I think that when you play your best, you are doing pretty good in all areas.
You used to live in Dubai – will that give you an advantage over other players on the course for the DP World Tour Championship?
I love coming back to Dubai, and I think that you play better at courses or at places you like. Course knowledge also helps and I have played most DP World Tour Championships.
What do you miss most about living here would you say?
I don’t get to see my Dubai friends that often any more. The food and weather are other things, but I get very nice weather in Florida too.
What do you miss least?
The traffic, and that certain things have to be so complicated at times.
You famously stripped off in the 2009 World Golf Championships to play a shot from the mud – do you think it earned you a few more female fans?
Well I did get a few wolf whistles at every tournament for a while after...
Who do you think will give you the biggest run for your money?
I plan to just do my thing during the weeks leading up to the tournament, and hopefully that will be good enough to win The Race to Dubai overall. Any one of the guys behind me can catch up with one good week.
How will you celebrate if you win?
Most of my family will be down in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship and hopefully we’ll have a celebration dinner at the Atlantis where we stay. We will have a nice dinner at Nobu on Sunday night regardless of the outcome!
Tickets to the DP World Tour Championship are free, but you must register. Thursday November 14 to Sunday 17. Jumeirah Golf Estates, www.dpwtc.com (04 340 0066).
Upcoming golf events
Omega Dubai Ladies Masters
The first full Ladies European Tour event ever played in the Middle East, the season-ending stop made its debut in 2006.
Emirates Golf Club, www.dubailadiesmasters.com
January 27-February 2, 2014
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
This tournament has been held since 1989, when the European Tour made its first visit to Asia. Emirates Golf Club,