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Henrik Stenson targets Ryder Cup after 'dream year'

Updated: Monday, 18 Nov 2013 10:44 | Comments

Henrik Stenson claimed an historic double, winning the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup
Henrik Stenson claimed an historic double, winning the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup

Henrik Stenson is relishing a return to the Ryder Cup and a bid to replace Tiger Woods as world number one after securing an historic double in stunning style with victory in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Stenson became the first man to win the European Tour's Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour in the same year thanks to a commanding six-shot triumph at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

The 37-year-old carded a flawless closing 64, signing off in style with a tap-in eagle on the 18th, to finish with a tournament record total of 25-under-par, with money list rival Ian Poulter a valiant second following a 66.

"It took a little time to sink in when I won the FedEx and it just kept on feeling better and better as time went on, and I'm sure this will be the same," said Stenson, who won the Tour Championship in Atlanta to seal the FedEx Cup title and $10million bonus.

"I have managed to achieve something very special here this week. To get the double-double, winning the Tour Championship on both the tours, that's going to take some beating in the future. It's been a dream year, a dream summer for me, and the season of my life."

Stenson has gone through two major career slumps, the most recent one leaving him 230th in the world rankings at the start of 2012, but solidified his position as world number three and closed the gap on Masters champion Adam Scott and Woods above him.

"Everyone who has won the Race to Dubai has been world number one at some point - Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy - so it wouldn't be fair not to try," Stenson added.

"I have managed to achieve something very special here this week" - Henrik Stenson

"It's going to take a lot more good golf but I am certainly going to keep on trying."

Stenson was part of the record-equalling Ryder Cup victory at the K Club in 2006 and also Europe's last defeat at Valhalla in 2008.

Next year's captain Paul McGinley felt the Swede was 85 per cent certain of a place in the team for Gleneagles following his FedEx Cup triumph, so Sunday's win has surely sealed the deal.

"That was one of my big goals, to try and get some points on the board early for the Ryder Cup," added Stenson, who secured the winning point in 2006.

"Some of the greatest moments in my career were in the Ryder Cup and then I missed out twice. I was always going to try hard to make it back on the team for Gleneagles and if we are not cemented, we are pretty close to it."

Also on the agenda will be a first major title, with Stenson looking to become the first male Swedish player to win one of the game's four biggest prizes.

"I don't know how I am going to be able to top this next year but I am going to give my best in the majors and that would be the icing on the cake," he said.

Stenson also had the added satisfaction of winning €100 from Poulter after keeping the Englishman behind him on the money list, with Poulter also having to act as Stenson's personal waiter on a night out as part of the wager.

Poulter, who fittingly was one of the first to congratulate Stenson after waving a white towel in surrender on the 18th, said: "I have to take my hat off to him, unbelievable. I tried to run him down as hard as I could but - even with a sore wrist - he has pressed on and I just could not get close enough.

"Henrik has not made a mistake all week and I just had to make sure of second place and some valuable Ryder Cup points. I have thrown a lot at him and given him so much stick, but he is the best player on the planet right now."

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