STENSON IS DRESSED TO IMPRESS


Henrik Stenson would probably be willing to put his shirt on a European win in the Royal Trophy – he has already proved he sees clothes as expendable on the golf course!

Sweden’s world number eight made headlines all over the globe earlier this year when he famously stripped down to his boxer shorts to play a shot out of a water hazard during a World Golf Championship event in Miami.

Happily, Stenson’s golf created just as much attention from the media and golf fans, as he gained his 12th career title at the US Players’ Championship, dubbed the ‘Fifth Major’ because it is such a prestigious event. The victory helped Stenson penetrate professional golf’s highest echelon and reach as high as number four in the world rankings.

But he readily admits that his watery antics at the CA Championship in March really got him noticed in dramatic fashion. And he said he hopes people will recognise him at the Royal Trophy – with his clothes on.

He grinned: “I was only wearing two things when I hit that shot – my shorts and my golf glove. Shirt, trousers, socks, shoes, hat, the lot was off. I don’t think I scared too many spectators off the course – at least, I hope not.

“Obviously, playing in Florida I didn’t have any rain gear in the bag, so that option went out of the window. I felt that if I could hack my ball out, I could save a shot and secure a five, and that is what I did.

“Because of the mud I couldn’t really afford to play in any of my clothes. They would have been a real mess down the last six or so holes, so I had no option. I felt that I would definitely save a shot by actually playing the ball. If you are saving a shot, that has to be worth taking your shirt and trousers off.

“I got a few comments from people in the galleries, and a few more once the pictures got out. I’ll probably take that to the grave with me.

The hugely popular Stenson has always had a reputation as a joker off the course on the European Tour. But no-one can doubt he is deadly serious on the course.

His Players’ Championship triumph was a follow-up to his 2008 victory at the Accenture World Match Play event, restricted to the top 64 players in the game.

He was on top of the world again when he teamed up with Robert Karlsson to win the World Cup of Golf for Sweden at the end of 2008. And they almost completed a double when they defended their title at Mission Hills in China in November. They finished second, just one stroke behind the winners, Italy.

Stenson and Karlsson will again be team-mates at the Royal Trophy, just as they were in 2007. They both emerged unbeaten, helping Europe to a runaway crushing victory. Both Swedish golfers also played for Europe in the last two Ryder Cups, with Stenson memorably holing the winning putt on his debut in Ireland in 2004.

He added: “I love team golf, and it feels good to be coming back to the Royal Trophy for a third time, after being part of winning teams in 2006 and 2007.

“It would be great to make it a hat-trick, but I know it won’t be easy. Asia showed they have made huge strides by winning for the first time in 2009, and we are coming to Thailand expecting an extremely tough battle.”

“Henrik Stenson has been a truly solid member of the European Team at the Royal Trophy. We will always remember his winning putt at the inaugural edition of the Competition;” said Royal Trophy Managing Director, Lincoln Venancio.

“We are looking forward to having Henrik Stenson representing Europe at the Royal Trophy once again;” added Lincoln Venancio.

The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy will take place on 8-10 January 2010 at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand. The Championship will feature a series of sixteen matches including the foursomes, four-ball and singles formats. The Principal Award for the winning Continent is stewardship of the perpetual solid-silver sixteen-kilogram Trophy, graciously donated by the world’s longest reigning Monarch – His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The Royal Trophy is organized in Thailand by the Sports Authority of Thailand and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Championship is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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