ATLANTA – Henrik Stenson has broken another club, although this time the damage was done honestly.
“You’re not going to believe me anyway after last week,” smiled Stenson, who pulled away at the Tour Championship with a second-round 66 for a four-stroke lead.
Stenson, who broke his driver during Monday’s final round at the BMW Championship, damaged his 17 degree Callaway X Hot 4-wood while warming up for Round 2 at East Lake. “I hit it like five times (on the range) and the last two had a different sound and I thought, that’s not right,” he said.
The face on the club was indented and since he couldn’t use it he had his trainer take the fairway wood to his locker and played with 13 clubs. After his round officials were waiting for the Swede and after a 10-minute conversation determined there was no violation.
Had Stenson carried the club he would have been penalized two strokes per hole, with a maximum of four strokes, under the Rules of Golf. Had he used the club he would have been disqualified.
“We got a call (from a viewer) who saw him looking at it on the range,” said Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competitions. “We just wanted to talk to him and make sure he didn’t make a mistake.”
Stenson did not, but it wasn’t because he is a rules expert.
“To be honest with you I can’t say I knew that if I just carried it I would have been penalized,” admitted Stenson, who estimated he would have hit the 4-wood two to three times on Friday had he not broken it. “I just figured since I couldn’t use it, why carry it?”
Stenson said his caddie was trying to find a replacement head for the club before Saturday’s early start at East Lake (the leaders tee off at 9 a.m.), but if it doesn’t feel comfortable he plans to play with 13 clubs.
Stenson, who can win the $10 million FedEx Cup crown with a victory on Sunday at East Lake, was jokingly asked if he would consider playing the weekend with 12 clubs considering his lead at the finale.
“We can do that,” he smiled. “Which one should we take out? I haven’t hit my 4-iron much this week.”