Newsmaker of the Year No. 8: Henrik Stenson

By Ryan LavnerDecember 14, 2013, 7:00 pm

He didn’t stop, not even as his wrist ached and his bank account swelled and his world ranking soared.

Fatigue? Please. When you’ve seen the darker side of pro golf – the crushing slumps, the missed cuts, the lean years, the mounting frustration – Henrik Stenson was determined to ride out this hot streak as long as it would last, even if it meant playing 31 events this calendar year.

And Stenson shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. The strapping Swede with the dark shades and the quick wit reinvented himself again in 2013, returning from a three-year slump to author one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory.

Less than two years after he couldn’t even win his club championship back home in Sweden, Stenson reemerged on the world stage by winning three times, amassing more than $19 million (including bonus money) and becoming the first player to capture end-of-season prizes on both the PGA and European tours in the same season.

It wasn’t just that Stenson completed the historic double. It was how he did so – with dominant performances that left little doubt which player deserved the hardware. At the Tour Championship, he led by nine at one point before coasting to a three-shot win. At the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, he roared home with a flawless 64 – including a 3-wood on the final hole to 2 feet – to win by six. “He is the best player on the planet right now,” Ian Poulter said afterward.

The twin killing completed a remarkable transformation for Stenson, who, despite all of the scar tissue, is still just 37.

Henrik Stenson: Articles, photos and videos

His story of perseverance begins in 2001, after he won his first European Tour title. Ill-prepared for golf at the highest level, his game soon spiraled out of control, and he bottomed out at No. 621 in the world in 2003. This, he admitted this year, was the most difficult slump from which to emerge, because he didn’t know his potential as a player. But he fought his way back, representing Europe at the Ryder Cup in 2006 and ’08 before capturing his biggest title, the 2009 Players, to rise to No. 4 in the world.

Unfortunately, that was the same year that Stenson lost a good chunk of his fortune in a Ponzi scheme, and his game promptly went south. Again. From 2010-12, there were poor results and even worse health – first a bout with viral pneumonia, then a waterborne parasite – and he tumbled all the way to 206th in the world at the start of 2012.

“It was more frustrating,” he said earlier this year, “because I knew what I’m capable of.”

There was no guarantee, of course, that Stenson would ever return to form. Ian Baker-Finch never did. Neither did David Duval. Some slumps just consume you, but scared-straight Stenson called upon a new sports psychologist, Torsten Hansson, and stayed committed to longtime swing coach Pete Cowen.

The turning point came at the 2012 South African Open, where Stenson torched the back nine to snap a 3 1/2-year winless drought. A few months later, and after a top 10 at Bay Hill, he needed another high finish at the Shell Houston Open just to qualify for the year’s first major. He tied for second. From there, he went on post 10 more top 10s worldwide, finish 21st or better in all four majors (including a pair of top 3s, at the Open and PGA), and win two FedEx Cup playoff events and the European Tour’s season finale. So complete was Stenson’s game, he ranked in the top 5 in scoring, greens hit, total driving and the Tour’s all-around statistic.

All of which he achieved, remember, while dealing with tendinitis in his wrist, a telltale sign of overuse. Recently, he joked that he’s spent “more time in the ice bucket than a bottle of Moet & Chandon.”

Yet there was no reason to stop, not when every elite player – especially Stenson – knows he is just one bad swing thought away from a career-altering slump.

More Newsmakers in 2013:

Newsmaker of the Year, No 9: Jordan Spieth

Newsmaker of the Year, No. 10: Vijay Singh

Newsmaker of the Year: Honorable mentions

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What's in the Bag: Tour Championship winner Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 12:48 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career title on Sunday at the Tour Championship. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: TaylorMade M3 (9.5 degrees)

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M3 (13 degrees), M1 2017 (19 degrees)

Irons: TaylorMade TW Phase 1 prototype (3-PW)

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (56, 60 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS

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McCarthy tops Bae in Tour Finals 25

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 11:51 am

The Tour handed out 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season based on how players fared in the Finals series. Here are the final standings after Sunday's Tour Championship.

1. Denny McCarthy: $255,793

2. Sangmoon Bae: $218,156

3. Robert Streb: $187,460

4. Peter Malnati: $157,296

5. Cameron Davis: $126,675

6. Adam Schenk: $125,798

7. Lucas Glover: $125,212

8. Matt Jones: $112,000

9. Hunter Mahan: $107,505

10. Roger Sloan: $84,307

11. Shawn Stefani: $80,579

12. Seth Reeves: $80,360

13. Max Homa: $78,200

14. Roberto Diaz: $70,326

15. Stephan Jaeger: $69,923

16. Curtis Luck: $64,920

17. Nicholas Lindheim: $59,169

18. Dylan Frittelli: $48,600

19. Wes Roach: $48,100

20. Sepp Straka: $47,844

21. Cameron Tringale: $47,760

22. Ben Silverman: $47,700

23. Michael Thompson: $45,466

24. Fabian Gomez: $43,657

25. Jim Knous: $41,931

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DJ moves back to No. 1; Woods to 13th in OWGR

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 11:05 am

Justin Rose did just enough to claim the FedExCup title Sunday at the Tour Championship, but Dustin Johnson's late surge was enough to vault him back into the top spot in the World Ranking.

Johnson shot a final-round 67 to finish in third place, while Rose stumbled with a 3-over 73 for a share of fourth. DJ lipped out a birdie putt on 18 that would have given him a shot at the FedExCup crown, and that allowed Rose to clinch the $10 million prize with a two-putt birdie.

Tiger Woods continued his incredible surge up the World Ranking with his 80th career win at the Tour Championship. Woods moved up from 21st to 13th after a two-shot victory over Billy Horschel. It marked Woods' seventh top-10 finish of the year.

Horschel made the other big move of the week jumping up from 48th to 35th with his second place finish. Outside of a WD in Boston, the 2014 FedExCup champion had another great run in the playoffs finishing T-3 at the Northern Trust, T-3 at the BMW and second at East Lake.

Here's the top 10 after the PGA Tour season finale.

1. Dustin Johnson

2. Justin Rose

3. Brooks Koepka

4. Justin Thomas

5. Francesco Molinari

6. Rory McIlroy

7. Bryson DeChambeau

8. Jon Rahm

9. Rickie Fowler

10. Jordan Spieth

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McCarthy wins Tour Championship by 4

By Associated PressSeptember 24, 2018, 2:14 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Denny McCarthy won the season-ending Tour Championship on Sunday to earn fully exempt PGA Tour status and a spot in the Players Championship.

McCarthy closed with a 6-under 65 for a four-stroke victory over Lucas Glover at Atlantic Beach Country Club. The 25-year-old former Virginia player earned $180,000 to top the 25 PGA Tour card-earners with $255,793 in the four-event Tour Finals.

''It's been quite a journey this year,'' McCarthy said. ''The PGA Tour was tough to start out the year. I stuck through it and got my game. I raised my level and have been playing some really good golf. Just feels incredible to finish off these Finals. So much work behind the scenes that nobody really sees.''

McCarthy finished at 23-under 261.

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, closed with a 69. He made $108,000 to finish seventh with $125,212 in the series for the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200.

Jim Knous earned the 25th and final card from the four-event money list with $41,931, edging Justin Lower by $500. Knous made a 5-foot par save on the final hole for a 71 that left him tied for 57th. Lower missed an 8-footer for birdie, settling for a 69 and a tie for 21st.

''It was a brutal day emotionally,'' Knous said. ''I wasn't quite sure how much my performance would affect the overall outcome. It kind of just depended on what everybody else did. That's pretty terrifying. So I really just kind of did my best to stay calm and inside I was really freaking out and just super psyched that at the end of the day finished right there on No. 25.''

The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list competed against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. Sungjae Im topped the list to earn the No. 1 priority spot of the 50 total cards.