SAN FRANCISCO – Two weeks later, Henrik Stenson is still not feeling 100 percent.
The world No. 3 came down with the flu the week before the Masters, forcing him to cancel his pre-tournament trip to Augusta and also withdraw from the Houston Open. When he finally got to Augusta, he was still so fatigued that he shortened his practice sessions.
During the opening round, as he lined up a 45-footer on the 11th hole, he complained of lightheadedness and said his legs felt like “jelly.”
Walking off 13 green, “I thought he was going down,” caddie Gareth Lord said. “He started to wobble, so I grabbed him and sort of dragged him to 14.”
After turning in an opening 73 – “It was a miracle to make it around,” he said – Stenson wasn’t sure whether he’d even be fit enough to show up for his second-round tee time. He did, and somehow made the cut on the number. He shot weekend rounds of 70-68 and ultimately tied for 19th.
It was a terrible break, for Stenson was playing some of the best golf of his career entering the year’s first major. He currently leads the PGA Tour in both strokes gained-tee to green and putting.
But instead of continuing to work on his game after the Masters, Stenson got sick. Again.
While in Augusta, Stenson’s kids back home in Florida caught a vomiting bug. “And we knew what was most likely going to happen when we got home,” he sighed.
Sure enough, Stenson felt nauseas and fatigued for another week-and-a-half, and he only picked up a club four days ago. Overall, he has lost 20 pounds since January – mostly because of diet, but partly because of his month-long illness.
“I’ve got no expectations for this week,” he said, just before he striped a 230-yard 3-iron to 15 feet in the Tuesday pro-am.
“It hasn’t turned out the way we wanted, but you can’t control these things and all you can do is try and get back up on the horse, get healthy and get going. It’s a long season.”
Then he smiled.
“But if you were to be sick at the Masters, maybe this is the one, because I don’t think anyone was going to stop Jordan (Spieth) the way he was putting and playing.”