Henrik Stenson returns to the Ryder Cup feeling he has unfinished business with the event.
The world No.5 has experienced victory at the K Club in 2006, and defeat at Valhalla two years later, but has not featured since after his form dropped off. He rediscovered it in spectacular fashion late in the 2013 season and that secured his place on the team relatively early. But his individual record is not that great, taking three points from seven, and he is keen to improve on it.
“It’s been a while. I never felt like I was done,” said the 38-year-old. “I wanted to get the European shirt on at least once more, and here we are. I’m delighted with that.
“Hopefully I’ll play a bigger role in terms of the points that I can bring to the team. I got one-and-a-half points out of three matches at the K Club and one and-a-half out of four matches at Valhalla; I wouldn’t mind getting some points out of this one.”
While Stenson is regarded as one of the senior players when it comes to career experience and world ranking, he admits there are others who carry greater responsibility when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
“I’m one of the more experienced players on the team but in terms of Ryder Cup, possibly not, there are a lot of players on the team that have played more. I guess we would all possibly line up behind Lee (Westwood), he might need to be the new general on the team, and Ian (Poulter) is a very energetic and driving force – and Sergio (Garcia) as well.
“We have a lot of leader characters on the team. Potentially I can step up a little bit more than I’ve done on the previous two that I was part of but it feels like we’ve got a great group of players.”
Since his joint-third place in the US PGA, Stenson has not finished higher than 23rd in three subsequent events and admits he could easily have taken longer off than the fortnight he allowed himself. “It’s still been a long year and a long year behind me before that and I could have done with a month off but then again you always risk getting rusty,” he said.
“I spent nine days in the US so I had some good practice and family time at home in Orlando and then Emma (his wife) and I flew over to Sweden and had a long weekend in Sweden so I feel pretty good. My game feels all right and once the week starts you’re not going to feel tired at all because you run on adrenaline regardless.”
American 21-year-old Jordan Spieth is making his Ryder Cup debut but having already featured in one team event he feels right at home.
“I really don’t feel like a rookie, partly because last year’s experience of playing in the Presidents Cup – that was at least international professional competition,” said Spieth, who claimed his name being spelled wrong on the practice range was ‘Europeans trying to get under your skin early’.
“You’re representing your family, you’re representing your country and you’re chosen to be part of the 12 that have an opportunity to win the Ryder Cup; something that we don’t have a great recent history with.
“I get really pumped up for it. I hope that I’m one of those guys that elevates his game for this.”