Other than Tiger Woods, you would be hard-pressed to find a golfer who has had a better year than Henrik Stenson.
After a quiet start to his PGA Tour season, featuring a first-round loss to Steve Stricker at the WGC Match Play and a missed cut at the Honda Classic, the Swede found a groove after a tie for second at the Shell Houston Open. Of course, it wasn’t until summer that he really took over.
After his tie for 21st at the U.S. Open, Stenson strung together four top-tens worldwide, nearly winning at both the Open Championship and PGA Championship. This propelled him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings, trailing only Woods when the playoffs began. He then went on to win both the Deutsche Bank Championship and the Tour Championship, and the rest is history.
While Stenson certainly accomplished all he could have dreamed of on this side of the Atlantic, he’s still a card-carrying member of the European Tour, and has the rare opportunity to win season championships on both circuits if he can continue to perform well through the Race to Dubai.
After taking a month off to enjoy the fruits of his labors, Stenson returned to action at the BMW Masters last week, finishing tied for 34th but retaining his lead over Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose. He’s in China this week for the WGC-HSBC Champions, and will get to double-dip, as all World Golf Championships count towards points on both tours.
Since the beginning of the FedEx Cup era, no player has won both season championships in the same year. That’s understandable, since most of the top stars can’t – or won’t – play enough on both tours to qualify. Even the money titles have only been swept twice, by Luke Donald in 2011 and Rory McIlroy in 2012.
While Woods edged him for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year honors, becoming the first player in history to hold both titles would be a career-defining accomplishment.