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Stenson’s Coronation

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Henrik Stenson is a knot of contradictions, a naturally left-handed man who plays golf right-handed, a man whose eyes shrink in bright light yet plies his trade in that same light. But there can be no contradicting those of his peers in Dubai last week who said he deserved to be called the best golfer in the world. When you think of spells of consistent and successful golf you think of Tiger Woods’ four major championship victories in a row, of Colin Montgomerie’s first Order of Merit in 1993 and the six that followed, of Pádraig Harrington’s three victories in six successive major championships starting in 2007, as well as Jack Nicklaus’s 18 major victories, 19 second places and nine thirds. But Stenson’s four months starting in Scotland in the second week of July, continuing in the U.S. and China and ending up in Dubai, take some beating. He hardly put a foot wrong, winning three tournaments in that time and the season-ending series of tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic. His victories in the two tournaments that went on at the same time in Dubai were not so much victories as coronations. It would have been inappropriate after his previous form, though understandable, if in Dubai Stenson had been unable to summon up his previous dazzling form. However tired he felt, he couldn’t limp to victory in the Race to Dubai and he didn’t. He gave a stunning display of golf, clubbing his favourite 3-wood huge distances, hitting a stream of purely struck iron shots and holing putt after putt.


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