Henrik Stenson discusses the vagaries of growing old, a future life on the senior tour and the possibility of becoming the Ryder Cup skipper
Injuries and golfers go hand in hand but, touch strong 3-wood, Henrik Stenson has led a relatively charmed life in this regard. Compare his time out to Tiger, who is just four months older, and they might as well have been playing different sports.
The 43-year-old has recently linked up with the Schoen Clinic in London and has just undergone a screening to see how his body is looking.
“It is in immaculate condition of course, hardly a kink in the armour,” he replies with his trademark sarcasm. “No, it feels pretty good. After beating thousands and thousands of balls there will be the odd issue but I consider myself quite fortunate in the physical department – I’ve had surgery on two knees and some issues with the forearms but otherwise I’m holding up pretty good.”
This century we’ve had a stellar cast of 40-plus major winners – Singh, Clarke, Els, Mickelson, Stenson and, in April, Tiger – so how has Stenson remained competitive as the years have ticked by?
“I’m better now than I was 20 years ago, at some point you will have to give a little bit on that explosiveness in the body and you will lose a yard here or there so you are mentally trying to make up for that power, so I play smarter and do the other things better.
“But I can’t really see myself playing senior golf but we’ll see, things might change, that feels a long way away on the radar. In my mind I’ve just turned 40! I have always practised pretty hard so there comes a point where I maybe don’t see myself doing that for another 20 years like Bernhard Langer and Vijay Singh who have always been super hot at practising. I’m not sure if I can see myself beating balls for hours on the range when I’m 55 but never say never.”
And for anyone of a certain age, with a CV as incredible as his, the Ryder Cup captaincy question inevitably pops up. While we have Padraig Harrington lined up for 2020 we then have the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Stenson waiting in the wings for the top job.
“I would not turn it down if the question was asked but at the same time it’s not something that you lobby for. If you get asked the question then you answer it but I wouldn’t go on a Ryder Cup campaign to try and become one. I think I’ve done enough to be qualified but there are big bunch of us that are in that age group and with similar qualifications, there are a lot of us and not everyone can be captain.”
But, while the game remains so sharp and the body is still willing, the playing side remains more of a short-term goal.
“One little thing for me to achieve in a Ryder Cup would be win away. I’ve played on five teams and won three in Europe and lost two in the States. Looking at the course and potentially some European weather it could help us a little.”
Stenson’s Ryder Cup record
2006: 1-1-1 (1.5 points)
2008: 1-2-1 (1.5 points)
2014: 3-1-0 (3 points)
2016: 2-3-0 (2 points)
2018: 3-0-0 (3 points)
Total: 10-7-2 (11 points)
Henrik Stenson has partnered with leading healthcare provider Schoen Clinic London. Schoen Clinic London, a world-renowned innovator in the treatment and prevention of sports-related injuries, is lending its expertise to benefit some of the world’s leading golfers including Stenson, Georgia Hall, Francesco Molinari, and Padraig Harrington. Visit their website to learn more.