Turns out he has a bad temper. Who knew?
There are not many finer sights in golf than a perfectly-executed Henrik Stenson 3-wood.
But it seems how the Swede became quite so proficient with the second longest club in his bag developed out of necessity rather than choice.
“I managed to break my driver back in the day when I was out playing with my dad,” the 2016 Open champion explains. “He got very upset with me and said ‘I’m not going to buy you another driver because you have ruined this one.’
“So, I went to the ATM to take out my whole savings and I got myself a new one. The driver was about $200 to replace, so it wiped out all of my pocket money for a good while.”
But Stenson’s luck did not improve after this ordeal. He continues: “I was playing with some friends and I hit a bad drive, so I just casually dropped the new driver on the tee.
“You know how graphite shafts are, with the vibrations, if it hits the spot it doesn’t need any force whatsoever. I just dropped it and it snapped. I didn’t dare to tell my dad, and I had to play without a driver for a while because I didn’t have any money to replace the shaft.
“I thought to myself, ‘He is not going to believe this.’”
In a frank admission, Stenson described the impact his temper has had on him – and his clubs – down the years.
“You would have thought I had learnt my lesson back then,” he explains. “My temper is something we have been fighting over the years. It’s one of those things that if you take that away, you also take a bit of the fire. They go hand in hand. With age I have certainly calmed down and I choose my moments a little bit better.”
“I am a bit of a perfectionist, and I’ve always been very goal-driven. I expect a lot of myself, but I also expect a lot of the people around me. I am sure I can be a little bit hard on them at times, but I am probably hardest on myself overall. I think I have had more angry moments with myself in practice than I have on the course.
“There have certainly been a few interesting moments on the range over the years. A couple of clubs have been retired, which is not something I am proud of, but in the heat of the moment the steam needs to come out. That has been the way for me, that a couple of shafts have been broken.”
The revelation may come as a surprise to those who only see the prankster side of Stenson, either on the course or in viral videos for the European Tour, and the three-time Ryder Cup winner explained his lighter side often gets him into trouble.
“I was on the range at the Scandinavian Masters, and [1982 Masters champion] Craig Stadler was in the field,” he recalls. “This was just after the Tin Cup movie and he (Stadler) shanked a shot on the range and I remember clearly to this day yelling out, ‘Who hit that?’ Stadler looked at me super unhappy and said, ‘I did.’ I was like, “Oops!’
“I was trying to be funny and he definitely didn’t think it was.”
Don’t ever change, Henrik.
Henrik Stenson was talking on the Open Podcasts. Listen to the full episode below, on Apple Podcasts, or on the Open website.