Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson, is ranked world number four and brand ambassador for Jumierah Golf Estates, he talks to Benita Adesuyan ahead of the DP World Tour Championship.
How do you feel coming back to Dubai?
It always feels like coming home, after being based here for 10 years, it’s a got a special place in my heart, and now coming back as the defending champion for this big season finale – it bring a lot of good memories from last year, and I’m going to try my hardest to defend my title. I’ve not been able to defend any other the titles I’ve won over the years so this will be a nice one to have. It won’t be easy there are still another 59 hungry capable competitors that are out there and everyone wants the same thing – it’s about playing well for three and a half days and hopefully one of the guys coming in to the back nine on Sunday with a chance to make something happen, and I’ll try my hardest don’t worry about that.
You have a home now on the Jumeirah Golf Estates, what it’s like living on a golf course?
We’ve not moved in yet but it’s a great facility here and it’s got everything you need under one roof, especially if you’re looking for a sporty lifestyle, you have tennis courts, swimming pool and a new club house. Once your stocked up the fridge with food, you don’t have to leave you can play your golf, go to the gym and work on your game at the performance institute, which is what it’s all about.
Does it not feel like your work is too close to home?
Not for me – I think I’ll weigh up the fact that my work is close to where I live, so I only have to go around the corner to play.
You’re a dad again, for the third time, how are you balancing family time with tournament commitments?
At least I was home for six days before I left for 23! Baby was six days old when I left and she’ll be a month when I get back, so she won’t be at the stage when you can send her off to the shops but she will have grown a bit. That’s what you do as a professional, when you play golf on world basis you have to travel and by travelling you’ll be away from loved ones at times so you learn how to do it. I’m used to it now.
READ MORE ABOUT SPORT IN DUBAI IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE.
Are you feeling any pressure coming into the DP World Tour as the defending champion?
Not really I’m just going to try and play well. 2013 was a great and huge year for me, so 2014 was always going to be tough to follow, but I’ve played a lot of good tournaments and I’m still up there in top of the world rankings. I’m fourth now and I was third at the end of last year, I managed to hang about and still have a solid season. Looking ahead in the future I want to plan my time better going into 2015, and keep the commitments under control and be better prepared for the season. This week, it is fun to be back, but I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
What has been your proudest golfing moment?
Winning both the FedexCup and The Race to Dubai here, in 2013. When I came here last year I felt like I was being chased by my friend and colleagues and they pushed me all the way to the end. I felt like it was an opportunity of a lifetime to write a little piece of history to be the first to win both in the US and Europe in the same year. I didn’t need to win the final, but I did and that made it extra special. I also won the tour final in the US, so winning that double–double in 2013 is my proudest moment. Also some of my greatest moments are in the Ryder cup, and playing in front home fans and my partnership with Justin [Rose] who is a great friend of mine, so the appreciation we get from the fans and the team spirit is something that money can’t buy.
The DP World Tour Championship, Jumeirah Golf Estates. Free general admission.November 20-23. www.europeantour.com