Henrik Stenson believed his turn had arrived to become golf’s latest major champion and with it end the question of when Sweden would finally win one of the sport’s greatest prizes.
The 40-year-old from Gothenburg who lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Troon last night as a three-stroke winner, had been one of four Open runners-up from his homeland since 1994.
Jesper Parnevik had missed out that year to Nick Price at Turnberry, when Anders Forsbrand had co-led the championship with Nick Faldo after 54 holes and three years later there was more heartbreak at Troon when he shared second place with Darren Clarke behind Justin Leonard.
Niclas Fasth was another to settle for runner-up at Lytham in 2001 and Stenson himself felt the bitter taste of second place three years ago at Muirfield when Phil Mickelson pipped him to the post.
That was one of seven top-five finishes in a major and four top-threes but after 42 major starts Stenson finally believed the time was right.
“I felt like this was going to be my turn,” he said.
“It’s not something you want to run around and shout, but I felt like this was going to be my turn. I knew I was going to have to battle back if it wasn’t, but I think that was the extra self-belief that made me go all the way this week.”
His successful duel with Mickelson put an end to that long wait for a Swedish major winner and the chore of having to answer questions about why he hadn’t.
“We had it back when Pádraig (Harrington) won at Carnoustie (in 2007), ‘When are we going to have a European major winner?’ Then he managed to do that, and then there’s always another question.
“But it’s been there a long time. I feel very privileged to be the one to hold this trophy.
“There’s been many great players from my country who tried (to win) in past years and decades and there’s been a couple of really close calls. Jesper in particular twice.
“So he sent me a message, ‘Go out and finish what I didn’t manage to finish,’ and I’m really proud to have done that, and it’s going to be massive for golf in Sweden with this win.
“And it was annoying, yes,” Stenson joked.
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