If you go to Henrik Stenson’s Twitter page it reads: Lisa, Karl & Alice’s dad, Emma’s husband and a professional golfer on the Euro and PGA Tour.
Not so Rory McIlroy (I hit a little white ball around a field sometimes), nor Jordan Spieth and Jason Day (both accounts are ‘Official Twitter of’).
Stenson is a different breed from golf’s young wave of world-beaters, who have obsessed over their game since learning the ABCs.
This weekend the Swede was high-fiving spectators between holes at Royal Troon Golf Club on his way to a record score of 20-under-par at The Open Championship. He threw balls to kids in the crowd while winning the PGA Tour Championship in 2013.
It says a lot about the 40-year-old, whose road has not been all smiles and handshakes.
At the 2012 South African Open he was a former world number four who had slipped outside the top 100 and wanted a victory before the year was out. Stenson was a crowd-puller, in spite of his dubious form, and had an easy humour when engaging with fans and media.
In the final round at Serengeti Golf Estate he shared the lead on the front nine. Myself and a colleague were positioned about 20 metres away from the ninth tee box, courtesy of our behind-the-ropes privileges. Stenson came over and shared a bit of banter. He said nothing about the tournament he was about to win, just a brief ‘how’s your father?’ before hitting it stiff at the par-three.
His affable, down-to-earth nature is uncommon on the modern professional scene, where stars like Rickie Fowler share their lives on social media a la Kardashian. Others, like Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, have a clear disdain for publicity.
There are countless stories of Stenson pleasing fans with his wit, but on Sunday at Royal Troon he made them smile by playing one of the greatest rounds in major history.
He’s a vastly more accomplished player than he was in South Africa four years ago, but remains one of the best entertainers on the pro scene. On Monday, one day after lifting the Claret Jug, he flew to Switzerland to play in Sergio Garcia’s charity golf day.
Being a major champion doesn’t force one to act like a rock star, and it’s refreshing to see the ‘Super Swede’ winning majors at a time when golf could do with a few good guys.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 18, 2016