Henrik Stenson’s two weeks weren’t very enjoyable – and some of that was because of his work.
The 46-year-old Swede was stripped of the European Ryder Cup captain by the DP World Tour the moment he joined the Leaf Tour of Golf two weeks ago. For this, he has received a fair amount of criticism, choosing millions of Saudis over inheritance and the chance of a lifetime.
Stenson will enter the final round of his first event with the LIV, on Sunday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, finishing first in the 9-under, a three-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.
Imagine how Commissioner Keith Pelley and the powers that be on the DP World Tour would feel if Stenson won this thing.
“Yes, it’s definitely been a busy and emotional week, no doubt, 10 days,” Stenson said after shooting the 2-under 69 on Saturday. “But I was very happy with the way I was able to direct the focus and go out and play the best round of the season [Friday]. I wasn’t at my best today, but I was still focused and well mannered, and that’s what kept me in the ball game. Yes, happy with the way I kept my head down and focused on work. ”
When asked if he had a chip on his shoulder after being fired from what he called a dream job, Stenson didn’t bite, looked over his shoulders, smiled and said, “I don’t see any of it.”
If you don’t think Stenson would like to send a message to the DP World Tour with a win on Sunday, you would probably think that the Saudis funding the LIV Tour would have to take out a loan to buy a home to pay him a $4 million winning check.
When asked directly what he thinks the powers that be on the DP World Tour feel seeing him on top of the LIV leaderboard, Stenson declined to respond.
He said, “I don’t know.” “I’ll just focus on doing my best there tomorrow, and we’ll see where that takes us.”
The golf course has apparently become an oasis for Stenson after the storm he created and tried to navigate through, and it was shown at Trump Bedminster.
After Stenson started the opening round on Friday with a 7-under 64, which tied him with Patrick Reed in the lead, he spoke with a sense of relief that he was able to focus on golf rather than arguing.
“It’s good to be there playing golf,” he said. “Yes, of course it has been a busy two weeks and it hasn’t been the most fun, but we are keeping our focus on golf. It’s a pleasure to have the ability to go out and do that and play such a strong tour. It’s the best I’ve played all year.”
On Sunday, Stinson will be chased by Johnson, who is 6, as well as Carlos Ortes, Talor Gooch (who shot 64 on Saturday) and Reid, all 5 years old.
“It definitely comes in handy for sure, especially around this course,” Johnson said.
“I’m trying to catch him,” Ortiz said of his last-round mentality. “Make some birds and I hope they don’t make that many. That is the game plan.”