Stenson seeks first title of 2018 at Wyndham Championship
We may have to wait eight months until the world’s best reconvene for a major again but there is no shortage of drama and intrigue this weekend.
With the end-of-season prizes now in sight and the Ryder Cup on the horizon, there is plenty still to play for in the final few weeks of the season.
The dust is still settling after a thrilling PGA Championship but on Thursday several of the game’s top players will tee off on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as players scramble for ranking points and trophies.
Here’s what to look out for:
Stenson out to end a year of frustration
Henrik Stenson may have recorded top-ten finishes at The Masters and US Open but the 42-year-old is chasing a trophy to make 2018 successful.
So where better to pick one up than the scene of his last victory?
The 42-year-old is one of the stellar names at the Wyndham Championship this week, where he picked up his 20th professional win a year ago.
A shoulder injury has hampered the 2016 Champion Golfer of the Year’s season but he is slowly getting back into the swing of things ahead of the Ryder Cup next month.
Consistent and reliable, Stenson has been there or thereabouts in most of the big tournaments this season, a serious contender in two of the four majors.
Injury almost curtailed his bid to add a second Open Championship, while he missed the cut at the PGA Championships last week but those extra two days of rest could make the difference this weekend.
Stenson is one of the favourites to win, along with Players champion Webb Simpson, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and in-form Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello.
If the Swede can hold them all off and add a seventh PGA Tour title, then it would add gloss on a promising campaign.
All on the line for McDowell
Since joining the PGA Tour in 2006, Graeme McDowell has been ever-present and won the US Open in 2010.
But this week his Tour status is on the line, with the two-year exemption that came with winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba up at the end of the week.
McDowell, who is hoping to compete in The 148th Open Championship on home soil next year, is down at 143rd in the season-long points race.
A quick lesson on side-saddle putting from the great Sam Snead. pic.twitter.com/oRBvKq0z0L— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 14, 2018
“I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me,” he said.
“I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario.
“Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season.”
Home comforts at the Nordea Masters
Swedish players have enjoyed great success at the Nordea Masters, with seven home winners from the last 23 years.
And there is a strong field of players hoping to make it eight from 24, headed by Alexander Björk and Joakim Lagergren.
Both have claimed maiden European Tour titles this season and are among the favourites at Hills Golf Club.
"I'd tell myself to grow up." 😂— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 14, 2018
What advice would TOUR pros give their younger selves? pic.twitter.com/W0b6yKaxSj
“It's great to be back on home soil and playing in front of a Swedish crowd, family and friends,” said Lagergren.
“Sometimes you want a bit too much and you might put too much pressure on yourself because you are home.
“I always want to play well so it's important to find a good level of play.”