Stenson full of praise for McIlroy

Bernie McGuire

Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Amid the continuing uncertainty and controversy in the men’s professional game, there remains a certain respect for the abilities of those either side of the LIV Golf and PGA Tour fences.

And Henrik Stenson is the latest to pay tribute to a member of the opposite tour.

The Swede’s name was golfing mud when the then 2023 Ryder Cup captain elect signed for LIV Golf, leading to the unprecedented action of the captaincy being stripped from the six-time European team member.


Stenson’s name is probably still taboo in any conversation concerning the European Ryder Cup team, but when it comes to approaching the now 47-year-old for comment, and in this case the topic was the upcoming 151st Open Championship, as ever, he was obliging champion golfer.

I have been ‘annoying’ Stenson for many years and was stationed close to his path to the scorer’s hut when he became The Open champion in 2016, and he recognised me and shook my out-stretched hand, just as he’d done a few minutes earlier with a crestfallen Phil Mickelson.

To the golfing media, Stenson is one of the good guys.

With The Open Championship retuning to Royal Liverpool this year, I asked him what he thought of it now being nine years since Rory McIlroy last won a major, having captured the Open Championship at the same venue in 2014 before doubling up with the PGA Championship a few weeks later.

Stenson had finished in the middle of the pack that year, but two years later out-duelled Mickelson in a drama-charged final round, becoming the only Swede to ever lift the Claret Jug.

“Rory has been playing pretty solid golf for a long while now and his name was up there again at the U.S. Open with a chance to win,” said Stenson.

“It’s all about putting yourself in position, but then sometimes it takes some of us longer than others to win, whether it be a major or otherwise.

“I’m not sure what’s the reason he hasn’t managed to add to his total of major championship wins.

“Those are the stats, but then I guess it is the old saying that the more times you put yourself into position, the bigger the chance you are going to win.

“The aspect Rory has in his favour is he does know how to win, and that’s always been a strong aspect in his make-up”.

As always Henrik, thank you for your time.

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