VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — Henrik Stenson is focusing on winning his first major title rather than worrying about becoming the top-ranked player in the world.
The 33-year-old, who has risen to a career-best No. 4 following his victory in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass two weeks ago, is more interested in becoming the first Swedish men’s player to win a major.
“World Rankings are very important to me,” Stenson said Tuesday. “It would obviously mean a lot to be the highest-ranking player in the world at some point, but winning a major would be much more important to me than being the No. 1 player for a short period of time.
“They kind of go hand in hand. If you win a couple of majors, you’re probably going to get close to No. 1. So you are probably not going to do one without the other.”
Stenson, speaking ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, acknowledged that winning a major will probably have to happen in the next five years when he expects to be at his peak.
“I hope the next five years are going to be the best ones in my career,” he said. “I don’t know if you can expect to win a major, but I sure hope so. It’s a dream of mine. The result at Sawgrass tells me I am capable of doing it.”
Stenson won the Dubai Desert Classic and Accenture Match Play within a few weeks of each other in 2007, but he probably achieved his greatest notoriety in March this year when he stripped down to his underwear to play a shot in the mud at the CA Championship at Doral.
The photos of the incident became front-page news around the world.
“It traveled like a forest fire. I could never have imagined the impact it would have,” he said.
Stenson is giving his backing to a Challenge Tour event in Sweden in late June. He played the Challenge Tour in the late 1990s, ahead of joining the full tour in 2000 and winning the Benson and Hedges International Open at The Belfry in 2001.
“The Challenge Tour was very definitely a big help in me winning that event,” he said.