‘There will be times when you want to get mad, but you’ve got to stay focused’

'There will be times when you want to get mad, but you've got to stay focused'
Henrik Stenson at the Nordea Masters in Barsebäck in June. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
Will Sweden's Henrik Stenson tee off to victory in the US Open or will a new first-timer claim the top spot?

Ever since Jason Day lifted the PGA Championship in 2015, the past six majors have been shared by players who had never won a major before.

Danny Willett's 2016 Masters victory was followed by Dustin Johnson's maiden triumph at the US Open at Oakmont.

Sweden's Stenson then landed his breakthrough major at the British Open before Jimmy Walker closed out 2016 with the PGA Championship.

The streak continued at the Masters this year, when Sergio Garcia's long wait for a first major ended with a playoff win over Justin Rose.

Stenson believes the slew of first-time winners reflect the fiercely competitive health of men's golf.

“I think the competition on a weekly basis is so tight out there and so tough,” Stenson said on Monday after studying the course at Erin Hills, venue for this week's US Open, which tees off on Thursday.

“It's so many players in the field that can win,” the world number six added.

Stenson is uncertain whether the recent streak will continue, or whether the crop of first-timers will go on to become second or third-time winners.

But he agreed with the suggestion that first-time winners were inspiring other players to dream of victory.

“There could be something in that,” he said. “A lot of times you see that. If I go back to Sweden, I'm sure that success is kind of pushing on more success. We've seen that within countries, for sure.”

“It might be the case as well that you say, 'OK, he won his first major, why shouldn't I win mine?'”

Stenson believes patience will be the key for whoever prevails this week.

“Patience and par is always a good score,” Stenson said. “No matter how easy a hole might seem, stress-free pars are always going to be good in a US Open, and patience. You've got to take the hits.”

“There will be times when you want to get mad and it's going to get to you, but you've just got to stay focused and press on.”

Stenson is also predicting a roaring trade for local pharmacists.

“This is hayfever heaven, and I expect any local pharmacy to sell out of antihistamines,” he joked.

“I forgot to take my pills this morning, and I've been sneezing about 50 times already.”