Henrik Stenson becomes the first man to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same year as he took the World Tour Championship by six shots in Dubai. The 37-year-old Swede had six birdies and finished with an eagle for an imperious bogey-free 64 and a 25-under-par total, a new tournament record.
Its only last year that Rory McIlroy won DP World Tour Championship and was the world’s best golfer. Now with this win Henrik Stenson, although not yet world No.1 yet, is widely regarded as the best player in the world after becoming the first player in history to win both the FedEx Cup series on the PGA Tour and the European Tour’s money list in the same year. Stenson said “It has been a dream summer for me. It has been the season of my life. I would be lying if I said I saw this coming.”
The other players agree. “He is the best player on the planet right now,” said Ian Poulter of Stenson. In reference to a bet between the pair, which could have resulted in Stenson acting as butler to Poulter for a night, the Englishman hailed his close friend by waving a tea towel – and wiping his face – by the 18th green. Luke Donald acknowledged “Henrik’s ball striking is as good as I have seen and I include Tiger Woods in his prime.”.
Stenson played imperiously to win the DP World Tour Championship and his record breaking 25 under par total leaving the field, including Poulter, trailing by six shots. Stenson could have claimed the Race to Dubai without victory in its final event, and therefore without a European Tour success all season, but he was determined to do it in style. A final round of 64 on the Earth Course did not include a single bogey despite the blustery conditions which hindered the remainder of the field. A wonderful eagle on Stenson’s 72nd hole was a fitting end to a wonderful run og golf for Stenson.
Stenson remains No3 in the world but has closed the gap on Adam Scott and now will surely be aiming to get to No.1. Stenson said “I have got to play a lot of good golf to get to No1 but someone already said to me that everyone who has won the Race to Dubai has been world No1 at some stage. So I have got to try.”
As Stenson celebrated, he would have been entitled to let his thoughts turn to Allen Stanford, who is serving a 110-year sentence in a Florida jail. Stenson was one of the high-profile victims of the banking fraudster immediately before one of two career slumps for the golfer.
Poulte refused to tone down his pursuit of Stenson at any point on Sunday. He left the Emirates with the consolation of second prize in the Race to Dubai, from a year which Poulter earlier admitted has not generally lived up to his own high standards. “I have to take my hat off to Henrik,” Poulter said. “He has been unbelievable, he has shown incredible form over the last six months. I just couldn’t get close enough.”
McIlroy, who signed off with a 67 for 15 under par was happy with his performance and showed positive signs for the future. Luke Donald and Lee Westwood finished stronly as well.
The European Tour has confirmed their Race to Dubai format will continue until 2017 and let’s remember Stenson’s golden form which may never again be repeated.
WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL LEADERBOARD
-25: H Stenson (Swe) -19: I Poulter (Eng) -17: V Dubuisson (Fra) -16: J Luiten (Ned) -15: R McIlroy (NI), L Donald (Eng), L Westwood (Eng) -14: J Donaldson (Wal), MA Jimenez (Spa) -13: P Hanson (Swe), J Rose (Eng) Selected other -9: G McDowell (NI)