Stenson in good company as he looks to follow up on famous victory at The Open
Henrik Stenson finally achieved Major Championship glory when he sealed a triumphant victory at The Open at Royal Troon in record-breaking fashion.
The 40-year-old carded an eight under par 63 – the lowest final round ever recorded by a winner of the Championship – to become Champion Golfer of the Year and the first Swede to win a Major Championship.
But can the popular Champion go where only five others have gone before and make it back-to-back Major wins at the PGA Championship this weekend?
Stenson has produced some of his finest performances at the final Major of the year. His best, a third place finish at Oakhill, in 2013, followed up by a tied for third at Valhalla in 2014. With the Major monkey off his back, Stenson features high on the list of contenders for the title.
A look back at recent history reveals two players who have managed the feat of following up their maiden victory at The Open with success at the PGA Championship; Tiger Woods (2000) and Rory McIlroy (2014). Both players had a longer rest period between the championships than will be the case this year, with the PGA having been brought forward to accommodate golf’s reintroduction at the Olympic Games in August. However, if Stenson is refreshed from his exploits at Royal Troon and can harness the confidence that lifting the oldest trophy in golf must surely bring, then he may be able to follow in their footsteps.
Going back a little further, South African Nick Price, a double PGA Champion, won the second of his titles after lifting the Claret Jug only weeks before at Turnberry in 1994. Price led the PGA wire-to-wire finishing six strokes ahead of runner-up Corey Pavin and in doing so, moved to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking following his victory.
Although the theme runs strongly in the modern era, there is one example that pre-dates the stroke play format that the PGA Championship follows today. The legendary Walter Hagen followed his 1924 victory in The Open by securing his sixth of eleven Major titles at French Lick Springs Golf Club, defeating Jim Barnes in the match play final.
The pair played the last two rounds together at Royal Troon, trading shot for shotand pulled away from the rest of the field as the weekend progressed – with the eventual gap between Stenson and the third placed JB Holmes stretching to 14 shots.