home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 18, 2017

Henrik Stenson

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Henrik, thanks for joining us, as always. Always a pleasure to welcome The Open Champion, Race to Dubai champion and Swedish Athlete of the Year, I believe you were named Monday night.

HENRIK STENSON: Male athlete, yes.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Talk about that. That's a cool award, isn't it, before you get the season started.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I had a quick little stop in Stockholm on my way over here. So I managed to pick that up on Monday night. It was a good, fun evening, seeing a lot of old faces, familiar faces and family and friends. Got that award from my good play last year.

Yeah, it's always nice to get awards within your sport but when you are getting awards that kind of competes with other sports, as well. It makes it just that little bit extra special. So I had a good stop in Stockholm.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Well deserved, no doubt.

HENRIK STENSON: Two nights out of three on an airplane, so I'm feeling fresh.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Apart from that, talk about this week going in. It's the one in the Middle East you've not won yet.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, thanks for reminding me. I was surprised, actually, given I've spent a couple of days doing other things; I'd be lying if I said I'd been doing the eight-, nine-hour shifts in Orlando before I headed out, as well.

It's a bit of a soft start for me in terms of practice, but the game felt pretty good. So I hope we can carry on from where I left it last year, and we'll just see if it's been conserved well enough over Christmas.

Q. Did you get to practice a bit during Christmas, or was it just family fun?
HENRIK STENSON: I worked on my turns over Christmas. Did skiing in Utah with the kids. I'm not sure if that helped my golf too much. Prefer to keep it a bit straighter when we're playing golf than skiing.

But I've aired the clubs for the last week in Orlando before I headed out. It was still getting airborne. It was going forward, and I managed to get some good putting sessions in, as well. So like I said, given that I haven't done that much, it still felt pretty good. So I hope that can stay for the next couple of days, as well.

Q. One of the things coming into this tournament that you've always felt in the last three or four years, is you said that you were not refreshed enough, given the success that you have had and the kind of knock-on effect it has had on your schedule thereafter. Are you feeling a little more different this year, or is it almost the same again?
HENRIK STENSON: I kind of found out that regardless of if you're having four weeks or five weeks off in between the seasons, you're still not -- never feel ready to head out maybe.

And it was quite busy. December was quite busy when I packed up after playing in the Bahamas at Tiger's event. It was kind of hectic for the next ten days before Christmas break.

So I wouldn't say that I may be feeling as fresh as we would have liked, but that's been the same every year, and then we kind of get going. We are kind of in the same starting position, I'd say, that we've done in the past.

Q. There have been some changes to The Ryder Cup. How appraised were you? How involved were you in the discussions?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I've been involved. I've had some discussions with Thomas and with Keith, and then also at the meeting yesterday.

So yeah, I've been there giving inputs. I think we came to a good system and I think it gives enough room for movement with an extra pick for Thomas and making the wild-card selection a little bit later than before. And also weighing the qualification points a little heavier towards the end to get players that are in form to pick up some extra points toward the end. So I think we've got a good balance.

Q. And what was your view about players having to be members of The European Tour, rather than Europeans?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think the ask of being a member is not that hard. It's four tournaments you have to play, and I'm on the board, on the same lines; if you can't make the effort to play four tournaments, then you're not really that interested in being part of that team, either. I think that's something I can stand for.

Q. Would you anticipate tweaking your schedule next year to accommodate some of the changes we've seen?
HENRIK STENSON: Not a massive amount. Possibly on a couple of occasions. But I feel like I got my schedule pretty much planned out the same way that they have been the last couple of, yeah, four or five years. I've played a very similar schedule year-in and year-out.

I hope that my game is at the level where I can play the same schedule, those 24, 25, 26 tournaments, and that get me automatically qualified. So I'm not going to make a massive change, really.

And I can't really do it, either, because the number of tournaments in the US has been my kind of -- that's been the tougher points. It's never been a tough point for me to keep my membership in Europe and play enough in Europe. So I can't really make a huge change in taking away any U.S. tournaments and adding more tournaments in Europe.

So I'd say probably most likely you will see me at the same events that I've played in the last couple of years.

Q. And can you tell us who else was on the short list for the Swedish Male Sportsman of the Year?
HENRIK STENSON: Jon Johansson, Jim Johansson -- no. (Laughter).

It was Mattias Ekström. He was the World Champion in Rally Cross. It was Peder Fredricson, who got the silver in the equestrian in the Olympics. And the third one would have been Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Yeah, we had some pretty good competition.

Q. Obviously Rory is missing this week, and you've had a couple injury problems in the past; Jason Day has injury problems; Tiger has his issues. Should we read anything? Is there anything extra in modern golfers in terms of the swing or schedule that maybe your bodies are more at risk than is the case in the past, or just coincidence?
HENRIK STENSON: Obviously I'm a bit older before I had picked up the injuries, which must mean that I'm a much better athlete and much stronger than those young guys getting injured (laughter). No.

I mean, you see how hard both Jason and Rory goes after it. Not that I necessarily just pat it myself, but they really go after it, and of course, that's going to put a lot of pressure on knees and back and neck and so on. So yeah, you've got to watch it. I mean, they are working hard on their fitness, as we know.

And the advice I would give to the next generation coming out is just making sure that you work hard from the beginning on your fitness. A lot of guys do, not everyone, but it's definitely -- it doesn't show up normally when you're 20, 25. It comes at a later stage. That's when you're paying for the wear and tear and a very one-sided motion that we do.

But if you've got more injuries now, possibly a little bit more because of the way everyone tries to hit it and get it a far distance off the tee, of course that's going to give you the chances of being injured a little bit more.

Q. Keith Pelley said today there's going to be music on the driving range at events going forward on The European Tour. Wonder what your thoughts were on that?
HENRIK STENSON: I like it. At The Ryder Cup it was pumping probably higher than ^ we will have on The European Tour, but I think golf is a lot about rhythm. It's something that a lot of the players I know, we practice with music, either in headphones or speakers on our golf carts if we're back in the US.

I like practicing to music, so I'm all for it. I'm sure not everyone is going to be delighted maybe. But I would imagine the majority of players and the majority of the fans will like it. It creates a nice atmosphere, and I think that could be a good way going forward.

Q. There may be talk about walk-on music to the first tee like in darts and boxing.
HENRIK STENSON: We've had that for some of the kind of exhibition games that we had at various events. I'm not sure if we're going to get it as a regular feature at the tournaments. Let's start with the driving range and then we can evaluate it.

Q. Would you have a song in mind if you did a walk-on?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, they always play Dancing Queen when I come walking up (laughter).

Q. You are one of I think eight players who have played this tournament every year since it started. Can you just look back at maybe what is your fondest memory of this tournament, and just tell us something that has drastically changed from 2006 to 2017?
HENRIK STENSON: I had my best chance of winning and the closest I've been was back in the first event in 2006. Yeah, I have to say, probably my best memory would be G-Mac hitting that back board and bouncing back out for a birdie on 18 when he thinned his bunker shot (laughter). No. I can't be serious, can I.

My course record in the third round in 2006, I played really well. I think I picked up two eagles on the back nine and shot 10-under 62. And one thing that's drastically changed is that the course has over time, it's become a lot harder. It's a bit longer and we've had some changes in tee boxes. And just because I say it, someone is going to shoot 61, I'm sure.

But it felt like that 62 was going to be pretty hard to beat, given the changes to the course and some tougher pin positions on a few holes and certainly a few new tee boxes. So it's gotten harder. It's a tougher golf course than it was, and the tournament as a whole has progressed. It's getting better every year. I think it's great for the fans and the hospitality and also for the players.

Yeah, it's strength of field and everything that goes around. So it's a really strong tournament.

Well done keeping serious when I can't.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297