Henrik Stenson, the reigning Open and Race to Dubai Champion, has been named The 2016 European Tour Golfer of the Year, receiving the prestigious annual award for the second time in four years.
Stenson has enjoyed a magnificent 12 months on the global stage, winning the BMW International Open in June before lifting the Claret Jug less than a month later at The 145th Open Championship, becoming the first Swedish man to win a Major Championship.
His epic battle with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon will go down as one of the greatest duels in golfing history, with Stenson producing a stunning closing 63 – the joint lowest final round in a Major by a champion – to win by three shots, breaking the record low score of a Major Championship with a winning total of 20 under par 264.
In August he was the one to miss out in a similarly enthralling contest, this time finishing runner-up behind close friend Justin Rose at the Rio Olympics to claim the silver medal, with the pair fully contributing to the success of golf’s return to the games following an absence of 112 years.
After representing his country in Brazil, the 40 year old then featured for Europe in his fourth Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National, claiming two points, including an impressive 3&2 singles victory over Jordan Spieth, but it was not enough to prevent the United States from reclaiming the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008.
Stenson then finished the 2016 campaign in strong fashion, replacing Masters Champion Danny Willett as leader of The Race to Dubai courtesy of a joint runners-up finish in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, a performance which proved crucial in the season-long contest. He then added further top ten finishes in the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player and DP World Tour Championship, Dubai during the Final Series, taking his total for the season to ten, to claim the European Tour Number One by a margin of 870,316 points, earning his second Race to Dubai crown in four years following his first triumph in 2013.
Stenson also won The European Tour Golfer of the Year award that year and he will now add this year’s trophy to his cabinet after a panel consisting of members of the golfing media unanimously voted for him as the 2016 winner.
‘It has certainly been the best season of my career and to now be voted the European Tour Golfer of the Year for a second time is a fantastic way to bring the curtain down on it,’ said Stenson. ‘To win the Claret Jug, a silver medal at the Olympics, the Race to Dubai and now this means 2016 was a very special year for me, and I am very proud of what I have achieved.
‘There have been some great golfers who have won this award, and many more who just missed out over the years, so to receive it twice now is a huge honour. You can argue that my consistency was a touch higher in 2013, but in 2016 I produced my best performances at key moments, so it will go down as the best year I have had and this award is a very nice way to end it.’
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of The European Tour, said: ‘The 2016 season was undoubtedly a memorable one for European Tour members around the world, with many so achievements to celebrate.
‘However, Henrik Stenson not only produced one of the standout performances of the year, or indeed any year, to win the Claret Jug at Royal Troon, but he also displayed an impressive level of consistency across the entire season to win the Race to Dubai. Furthermore, Henrik consistently reminded us what a magnificent ambassador he is for the game of golf, and he is therefore a thoroughly deserving winner of the European Tour Golfer of the Year award for the second time in his career.’
Panel member Iain Carter, BBC’s golf correspondent and Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, said: “There were a number of worthy candidates for this prestigious award, including Danny Willett, who became the first Englishman in 20 years to win the Masters, Justin Rose, who played a hugely significantly role in growing the game with his victory in the Olympics, and Alex Noren, whose four victories in the second half of the season and surge into the world’s top ten in many ways epitomised what the European Tour is about.
‘But the outstanding player in 2016 was undoubtedly Henrik Stenson, whose tussle with Phil Mickelson on that Sunday will live long in the memory of all of us who were there at Royal Troon. For Henrik to then close out the Race to Dubai in the manner he did made him our unanimous choice as the 2016 European Tour Golfer of the Year.’