The Loop

British Open champion Henrik Stenson ‘couldn’t hit the world, let alone fairway’

July 27, 2016

Stories of interest you might have missed…

British Open champion Henrik Stenson is known for his ball-striking, but it wasn’t always crisp, as ESPN’s Bob Harig writes in this story on how instructor Pete Cowen helped Stenson overcome what could have been a career-ending slump.

“[I]t is interesting to note how bad he once was, how little ability he had to do anything close to what he accomplished in Scotland.

“‘He couldn't hit the world, let alone the fairway,’ said Pete Cowen, Stenson's longtime instructor. ‘And it could be with every club in his bag. He could hit 5-irons out of bounds, 7-irons out of bounds. There are three important things, and they are to start the ball on line, and have the correct flight and spin. Henrik couldn't start it on line, and then you have no idea where it is going to finish.’”


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Spieth, Mickelson plotting better endings

“Jordan Spieth continues to tell people he is not in a slump. Phil Mickelson must once again expound on the heartbreak of another second-place finish in a major championship.

“Perhaps that is why Spieth and Mickelson played a practice round together on Tuesday, preparing for the 2016 P.G.A. Championship. Separated by 24 years in age, for a day they might have been the salve to each other’s burdens, real or invented.”

Euro Tour chief’s good ideas, sans the music

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley’s idea to introduce a six-hole format, utilize a shot clock and play music was not universally welcome, at least on the music front. Martin Dempster of the Scotsman took exception.

“As for PA announcers and music? No! Neither belongs on a golf course and there really is a fine line here between trying to be, in Pelley’s words, innovative and creating something that just doesn’t sit with the fundamentals of the sport. On the one hand, the European Tour chief’s vision is aimed at trying to attract more young players to the sport. But what if the cost of that happening is losing too many of those who actually like the game as it is right now? Personally, I think change of some sort is required but let’s be careful here because, as Stenson and Mickelson showed us just over a week ago, the traditional form of golf can still show the sport off in its full glory.”