Golf fans, history was made this weekend.
Henrik Stenson won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai this weekend, completing one of the most incredible seasons imaginable. With the victory, he accomplished a feat no other player ever has, becoming the first golfer to win both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season.
Tiger Woods may be the face of the sport, but the kind of performance Stenson has put on all over the world this year has been nothing short of legendary. The only thing missing from the Swede’s 2013 resume is a major championship. Stenson finished second at Muirfield, where Phil Mickelson‘s triumph overshadowed everything else, and then third at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship. Had he finished the job either of those times, he’d be the runaway player of the year by any metric.
Still, when the pressure was at its highest, Stenson stepped up to the plate and owned the moment. At October’s Tour Championship, he faced a murderer’s row of Woods, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar, any of whom could have won and taken the FedEx Cup away from him. Although it was anything but a cake walk, he refocused and held off Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker for the win.
Facing similar pressure from hard-charging Ian Poulter, who shot a solid final round of 66 in Dubai, Stenson didn’t even open that door. In the end, Poulter could do nothing but tip his cap to a player who he called “the best player on the planet right now.”
Poulter hit the nail on the head with that one. While Stenson didn’t have Woods’s five PGA Tour wins or Mickelson’s major, to have the kind of sustained success on both Tours is absolutely incredible.
The next question, of course, is whether or not he can do it again. The reasonable answer is no, but with this type of unprecedented success, reason sometimes goes out the window. He’s got a whole new level of pressure to deal with, but that’s never seemed to bother him much. With a well-deserved break coming up to recharge heading into 2014, Stenson could easily ride this wave into the new year.