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


October 25, 2017

Henrik Stenson

Shanghai, China

CLARE BODEL: Welcome, Henrik. You must be looking forward to being back here after you finished second last year.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, we had a good week here at the HSBC Champions last year, and of course we hope we can be putting ourselves in the mix come Sunday. That's what you want to do and that's where you need to be if you want to win golf tournaments, even though last year was maybe a slightly different mission.

I was in good position to win my second Race to Dubai, and needed a strong tournament in the last couple of weeks, and I managed to get that here. I wasn't really in the mix for winning the tournament. Hideki was playing outstanding and left everyone in the dust. So it was more of a race for second and I managed to get to that one.

Yeah, I left Shanghai pleased last year, and hopefully we can be able to leave Shanghai happy this year, as well.

Q. You mentioned yesterday you shot 22-under to win the Wyndham, and 23-under here last year. Is it going to take a similar score this week, do you think, or does the better weather forecast maybe go against lower scoring?
HENRIK STENSON: What did you say about the weather?

Q. About the weather forecast --
HENRIK STENSON: I haven't checked it.

Q. Well, apparently it's going to be like this for the rest of the week.

Q. Not as wet. Will it be tougher to score?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, potentially. I haven't been out yet. Obviously going to head out in the Pro-Am now in an hour or two. That's the one time when I get to check out and see what the course conditions are like.

The golf course doesn't change much. We've added a couple of tees over the years but it's been pretty much more or less the same golf course that we've played year-in and year-out. It doesn't take a lot of preparation in terms of strategy and so on.

The game plan is pretty much the same as previous years. But I'm looking at the winning scores here, and a lot of times, you definitely need to be around 20-plus-under.

So yeah, it depends on if the greens are firm; and I've heard some rumours that because of the hot summer, they overseed and the rough is not quite the way it's been in the past. Bermudarough is always going to be tricky to judge. There are a lot of holes where there's potential birdies but if you're coming from the wrong place and you can't control your second shots, there's some danger out there for sure.

I think you've always got to play the par 5s well, and they are the same. There's a lot of birdie opportunities and even eagle chances on par 5s, but if you're not executing it well, there's chances for bogeys and doubles there, too.

So yeah, you've got to tread your way around pretty carefully at times.

Q. Do you have an opinion on this shot clock golf?
HENRIK STENSON: I think it will be a little bit more stressful than what we normally see (laughs). I just saw the announcement, and quickly picked up on it.

Yeah, it will be interesting to follow and see what everyone thinks about that event. It's obviously a different format, different idea on that tournament in Austria. So yeah, I'm going to follow it closely like everyone else.

Q. And do you think, 50 seconds for the first person and 40 there after, do you think that's quite generous?
HENRIK STENSON: I mean, a lot of it has to do with how much you prepare when someone else is hitting their shots and preparing. I think you can tell that on any golf course around the world on a Saturday morning game; if you have players that are ready to play and hitting and when it's their turn, it can be very quick.

But if you have a foursome where the other three are standing around waiting, while one player is doing his hole preparation and execution, then it's going to be a very slow game.

It's certainly enough time, as long as you are preparing while the others are hitting and getting ready. So I don't think that's going to be much of an issue.

But it's obviously a different thing, you have a difficult shot and you want to take that bit of extra time; you're not going to have that, really. I think they said something about having a time-out or two that you can use a bit of extra time. But I'm sure it will get the kind of stress levels up a little bit on the players that are playing in that event.

Q. Where in the world do they play the fastest golf?
HENRIK STENSON: Good question. I mean, as you know, I play most of my golf on the PGA TOUR and European Tour, and it's certainly a little bit quicker in Europe than it is in America. That would be, I don't know, a better answer to give you really.

In terms of recreational golfers, I would think Britain is a place where they play rather quickly. I mean, at the same time, I know the men's game at Lake Nona doesn't hang about too much, either. They kind of just tee it up and the ball is in the air and then almost before it has landed, someone else has hit it.

There's certainly places where amateurs are playing very quickly, but I know there's other places where amateurs are playing very slow, as well. And if you got many different types of golfers in a foursome, that's going to make it slow, as well. If you have someone that hits it very short and someone that hits it very long and someone that waits for a green to clear on a par 5, and then his partner is going to then take four shots to get there, you know, it can play out rather differently.

But I think I've seen it all over the years, really.

Q. I think six weeks since you last teed up. I know you'd have hoped to qualify for THE TOUR Championship, but were you always planning to take a break, or are you in the rudest of health, knee, back, whatever?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think we're feeling reasonably good in terms of the physical side. Yeah, it was always going to be a break when we were done with the FedEx, however long that was, and then getting ready for this pretty busy month here.

I'm playing four tournaments in a row all over the place, so a lot of travel and a lot of golf coming up. And then I'm after Dubai, I'm shutting it down for the year and getting rest and getting ready for next year.

Yeah, it worked out rather good, having a longer break, and then giving it my best here for four weeks and then having the Christmas break and looking forward to 2018.

Q. In an interview in Shanghai, you said you had a goal of winning a major in 2016 and you did that, and you had a fantastic Olympics, together with The Open Championship. But in 2017, we felt it seemed like you were a little bit exhausted. Is there any specific goals coming into next year, maybe winning two majors, two WGCs? Because from my understanding, you seem to have a peak time for every two years' interval. So right now, coming into the end of 2017 and going into 2018, is there any specific goals that you have set for yourself?
HENRIK STENSON: I think you're certainly right, after a big year last year, it's hard to just carry on all the time. There's a lot of commitments off the golf course, and it drains you and when you're playing well and you have a lot of success, there's a lot of things pulling you in different directions.

So it was certainly, the spring of 2017 was a bit of a backlash, I would say, from 2016. But I still had a number of strong tournaments this year, and certainly turned the year into a much better one with a win at Wyndham here in August. Still quite a decent year, and every year where you can win a big golf tournament on any of the tours, it's going to be a quite nice one.

You know, still pretty pleased with the year but it's certainly a bit of a hangover from last year, I would say. Looking ahead, I managed to get that win at The Open in 2016 and that was obviously a big dream of mine to win a major, to win The Open Championship, and at this point, I hope I can give myself another couple of good shots at winning another few majors, so that's really in the back of my mind.

And also, it's a Ryder Cup year. I've had some of my best memories on the golf course playing on the European Ryder Cup Team, and I'm motivated to try and be there in Paris and win the Cup back in the fall.

Q. No matter where in the world, usually a professional golf tournament, it's usually the Asian players playing after the American and European players. But last year in the WGC-HSBC Champions, Hideki Matsuyama not only just won, but found himself in a place that seems like the Europeans and the Americans could not chase after him. So how do you look at this situation, especially now with such a high-ranking, ranked No. 4 for Hideki now. Is this just an independent situation, or do you feel like the Asian players are climbing up so fast that it's hard for the Europeans and Americans to catch them?
HENRIK STENSON: I think we've obviously seen a lot of development; I certainly have in these 12 years I've been coming to this event and seeing how golf in China has developed and also the Asian players.

It's good for the growth of the game. Certainly you see a lot more Asian players contending and getting good results, and Hideki has had a fantastic run. He was kind of right in the middle of that run last year when he played fantastic golf and left everyone behind.

So yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if we can see more of that in the future and from other players, but you know, it's healthy competition and there's players from many different parts of the world up in the top of the World Rankings and at the tournaments.

CLARE BODEL: Thank you, Henrik. Thank you, everyone.

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