By Larry Fine
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – British Open champion Henrik Stenson, bothered late in a brilliant season by a balky right knee, said on Wednesday that he felt fresh after a break from golf and eager to play in this week’s Ryder Cup.
Asked if he thought he would be able to contest all five sessions at Hazeltine in Europe’s quest for a fourth successive Ryder Cup win if needed, Stenson said: “I’d say yes at this stage.
“As of now, I feel like I’m up for a lot of golf and unless the knee tells me otherwise, that’s the way I approach it.”
Stenson had a sensational summer run that brought him his first major after a remarkable final-round Open duel with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon, a seventh-place finish at the PGA Championship, and a silver medal at the Rio Olympics.
The big Swede then withdrew from The Barclays, the opening event of the FedExCup playoffs because of his knee, and tied for 41st at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Sept. 5. He has not played since but believes his hiatus has done him good after his hectic stretch.
“I definitely needed it. That’s why I set my playing schedule the way I did,” said the 40-year-old, who did not qualify for the Tour Championship.
“I was pretty drained after the summer here with the Open, and the PGA was a draining week also, and the Olympics. Played a lot of golf, played some good golf, and being up in contention, that takes a lot out of you. It’s been a fantastic summer, so I needed a bit of a breather.
“I hope to be ready on Friday when we kick off again.”
Stenson has a record of five wins, four losses and two halved matches in three Ryder Cup appearances.
He said the knee issue is not hurting his swing.
“To this point it doesn’t hurt me when I’m playing golf,” he said. “It’s been more walking that’s been a bit more of an issue, but that feels good at the moment.”
(Editing by Andrew Both)