Henrik Stenson arrives at his ninth Arnold Palmer Invitational on the back of four consecutive top 10 finishes at the tournament, but admits it will be a ‘very different week’ with Arnold Palmer not being present.
‘He’s meant so much to the game of golf, of course, to this being his own tournament on his own golf course. So he will be dearly missed and we will do our best to make it a very successful week without him and pay tribute to him, to his career and everything that he’s done for the game, and for everyone involved,’ Stenson said.
Stenson is pleased with his 2017 PGA Tour season to date, with two top 10s in three starts, including another top 10 last week at the Valspar Championship in Tampa.
‘Yeah, it’s been a good start. I played a lot of good golf, as you know, last year, and managed to pick it up pretty much where I left it off, I feel. Two good tournaments in the Middle East on the European Tour, and even though my first outing for the year in Mexico didn’t turn out the way we wanted to, I played some pretty good golf last week and managed to get another top 10 in Tampa. So, yeah, I hope to step it up a notch every week I play and get ready for early April.’
Stenson, who secured his maiden major last year at Troon, was pleased with the news that Muirfield has voted in favour of allowing women members, a move which has seen it placed back on the Open roster.
‘That’s great. Muirfield is one of my absolute favorites, if not my favorite Open venue. I kind of ranked for me personally it was Muirfield, Birkdale, and it’s hard not to put Troon right in there with Birkdale, probably. So, that’s great news to be able to come back to Muirfield at some point.’
The Swede is ready to play his part in honouring ‘The King’ this week after everything Palmer did for the game.
‘He just made it a very popular sport among the average guys out there. I think he brought golf to the masses and made it a very popular game.
‘So I think that’s what really comes to mind. You could always argue his achievements on the golf course or his achievements off the golf course, given how involved [he was] in charity and Arnie’s Army and everything that’s been done outside the golf course. So, there’s a lot of things to choose from, but I’ll stick to that first one.’