Henrik Stenson stealing away the loot as FedEx field sleeps
Swede holds four-shot lead over Dustin Johnson and has $10m in his sights
With Woods, the fittest of the fit, complaining of weariness after an endless summer of big tournaments beginning with the British Open in July, Stricker imagines that more players will follow his example next year and play in fewer tournaments down the season’s stretch to conserve their energy.
“I think we’re going to see some of these guys taking some of these play-off events off,” Stricker said.
Stenson (37) hit the wall at the penultimate play-off, damaging his locker with a few mighty blows last Monday after his 33rd-place finish at the weather-delayed BMW Championship. That burst of temper seemed to help Stenson gain his second wind. He played the first 45 holes of this tournament in 14-under.
His last nine holes on Saturday included one birdie and four bogeys, a disparity he cannot blame solely on the deteriorating weather. Over the first three rounds, Stenson has played the first nine in 13 under and the second nine in two over.
“Over a 72-hole stretch, you’re always going to run into a couple of holes where you’re not playing your best,” he said. “It would be wishing too much to play the way I did that first 45 holes, the whole week. To carry on like that without running into some trouble is probably asking for too much.”
It probably is asking for too much for Stenson to play the last 18 holes without visions of gold bars dancing in his head. The $10 million bonus, awarded to the season-long FedEx Cup champion, can be a heavy weight to shoulder when trying to close out the Tour Championship.
Justin Rose, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last year and finished with his only round in the 70s to drop to second, said: “Henrik’s controlling his own destiny, and he’s done a great job of it. But I’m sure, as we get towards the finish line, I’m sure $10 million begins to loom pretty large.”
That would seem especially true for Stenson, who lost a large sum in the $7 billion Ponzi scheme that led to the conviction last year of R. Allen Stanford, who ran the Stanford Financial Group, a Stenson sponsor.
“At the end of the day, it’s just money, isn’t it?” Stenson said, adding: “I’m not struggling by any means. So I’ll just say money is paper, right?”
On paper, Stenson’s lead looks golden.
“I know I can just focus on my 18 holes tomorrow, and that’s what I’m going to do, the best I can,” he said, “and then we’ll add it up when we’re finished.”
- New York Times Service