Dubai: Sweden`s Henrik Stenson has vowed to retain his fire as he seeks a career first major win in 2015 which would be more important to him than knocking Rory McIlroy off top spot in the rankings.
Stenson, 38, has enjoyed a late career renaissance. In 2013, he topped the European money list, won the U.S. season-ending FedEx Cup and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, having been outside the world`s top 100 a year earlier.
The Swede retained his Dubai crown to finish 2014 with a flourish, but his best effort at a major championship remains his second-place finish at the 2013 British Open.
“I would rather win a major than to be world No. 1, if I had to choose between the two,” Stenson told reporters ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which begins on Thursday.
“I`m going to try and be as prepared as possible when I get to (U.S. Masters venue) Augusta and the other majors. I feel with my scheduling this year I`m in more control. Last year was a bit of a hangover from 2013 and I was very low on energy.”
Stenson, the world number two, led from the front to win back-to-back season-ending Dubai titles, a feat that required calm nerves from the amiable Swede who is a witty, engaging speaker, but who can be overwhelmed by anger on the course.
“I don`t want to take away that passion or fire to perform well,” said Stenson. “I`m a bit of a perfectionist so if I don`t get the results I want the disappointment sometimes spills over. I have quite good patience, but sometimes even that runs out.”
Such moments include the 2011 Qatar Masters when he threw a club into the water. In 2007, he was fined for striking a tee marker at the British Open and he snapped a club over his knee at the same event last year, while in Chicago in 2013 he smashed his driver in disgust, according to media reports at the time.
“There has been the odd incident over the years, I admit, nothing we are particularly proud of, but there`s a danger if you`re trying to completely take that away it might take something else away that`s actually an advantage,” he added.
“The position I`m in, I`ve got a lot of eyes on me and I`m trying to behave at my best.”